Saturday, January 7, 2012

Better Burgers: Empire's Dairy King

It's about time. As the fluffy white stuff finally starts hitting the hills after a depressingly mild winter so far, I revert back to a childlike state; the days where heading to the mountains with my dad was as much of an adventure as anything. Spending a weekend at the YMCA of the Rockies in Winter Park, riding snow cats before I could even drive a car, tubing down a roaring ice hill, cross country skiing, and of course some down-home cooking in Empire.

Jenny's and the original Hard Rock Cafe were always popular stops on the morning drive up- so old and quintessential that I'm pretty sure they invented the bacon and eggs combo. But as for the way back to Denver, another little joint has stolen my heart: the Empire Dairy King.

Don't catch me lying as to how long they've been open, but I'm pretty sure it was pre-revolutionary war; back to the day where greasy was good. Also the pre-credit card era- as they only take cash. But this is a true mom and pop shop, where they do a few things and do them well.

You can expect a pretty basic menu offering of 1/4 and 1/2 pound burgers, single or double. Or if you're a buffalo fan you can go that route as well. But don't think In-N-Out here- it's more of a build your own burger, with a mature offering of add-ons. Cheese is .40 extra, and the usual fixin's of lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayo define 'The Works'.


In an elementary sense, a perfectly crisp egg bun cradles a sloppy burger- with that good old-fashioned griddled effect. And fresh, classic accompaniments offer a crisp contrast. The meat itself, even fully cooked is juicy and flavorful. Of course fries, shakes, malts, etc. all round this out as a perfectly unhealthy meal. But after a long day of skiing, you've hopefully burned the caloric allotment in order to wolf this stuff down.

My Suggestion: Buffalo Burger with Swiss, and topped with everything; Fries; and a Hot Fudge Malt (small is more than enough); followed by a food coma upon returning to the city. Nothing like a hot shower and a nap after a long day on the slopes... but if Dairy King can assist in knocking you out, then all the better.

Dish It Up!

Avg Burger: $3.50
Cheese add-on: $.40
Don't rush to get there- Empire is a 25 MPH speed trap
CASH ONLY- unless you feel like washing dishes

Empire Dairy King on Urbanspoon

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