Rueben’s Burger Bistro

"The Spoke" burger at Rueben's in Boulder

“The Spoke” at Rueben’s in Boulder: crumbled bleu cheese, applewood smoked bacon, crispy onion straws, and a pinch of ground black pepper – which, incidentally, pairs perfectly with sweet potato fries and a 2-0 Red Wings’ playoff win over the Blackhawks.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 on draft in Boulder

Rueben’s in Boulder is one of a small handful of Colorado pubs offering the St. Bernardus Abt 12 on tap.

How many reasons do you need to go get a burger and a beer? I can think of seven thousand, but I know you’ve got stuff to do, so here are three reasons to go to Rueben’s:

Red Wings shirt

The Red Wings are not particularly popular in Colorado for some reason.

1. The Detroit Red Wings — There are two places in Boulder to watch the Red Wings play hockey. Reuben’s is one of them. Their bartender (Dan) loves the Red Wings. I hope he never quits so I don’t have to edit this post. And – Colorado is not the friendliest state in which to watch the Wings so it’s nice to have a home away from home, especially since you’re looking to load up on…

Pauwel Kwak Belgian Strong Pale Ale at Rueben's in Boulder

The famous Pauwel Kwak Belgian Strong Pale Ale in its lab-beaker-esque glass

2. Belgian Beer — If you’re in the mood for a tall, cold Coors, well… Reuben’s is probably not the place for you. But if you like potent, flavor-rich beers made in a country you’ve likely never visited, Rueben’s is your spot. Add to this the Paul Kwak Amber on draft, served in a funky glass that looks more like a lab experiment, and you’ll be in Hog Heaven. Or Burger Heaven, as it were, which is a great reason to order the…

3. Best Burger in Boulder — Simply put, I haven’t eaten a better burger in Colorado – although the Waterloo Icehouse potato/beef burger in Louisville comes close.

Rueben’s is great because the owner and staff know their beer. They have a good happy hour (aka “Halfy Hour” named for half-priced beer), and you can’t beat their food for an upscale burger joint. Also, they appear to have a talented artist on the payroll. Meet me up there sometime, because I’m pretty much guaranteed to be there once a week, usually with my friend Dave.*

*Two notes about Dave:

1. Some time ago, while eating dinner at Rueben’s bar, he dropped the quote of the night:

“This right here,” Dave said, pointing to his Trappist ale and Eddy Merckx burger, “this is perfection.”

I tend to agree.

2. As my great grandma would say, Bless Dave’s Heart for ordering and attempting to keep down a HORRIBLE gluten-free beer at a place known for its awesome Belgian beer. Way to take one for the gluten-intolerant team, Dave… even though you’re not on the team.

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My Brother’s Bar

My Brother’s Bar helps you avoid expensive and uncomfortable Denver parking-latrine garage scenarios thanks to their free parking lot…

My parents hate this place.

I happen to love it.

About every five years, my mom and step-dad come to visit me. They showed up in 2001, 2005, and 2010. I’m guessing I’ll see them with a Rocky Mountain background again in 2015 or so.

The first time they visited, we drove to Colorado Springs, Golden, Estes Park, Denver, Boulder, and a few other places I’m forgetting.

The second time they showed up, we went to fewer cities, but more restaurants. Notably, we went to The Med in Boulder and ordered 21 appetizers, which you can read about here.

Most recently (3rd visit), we went to Oskar Blues (Lyons), Radda, The Med, Le Peep, Mead Street, and… My Brother’s Bar (MBB).

Let me first report that I’m not sure the ‘rents hated MBB so much as they hated downtown Denver in general. We walked – in the hot sun – from Uptown to MBB, which is next door to REI… probably too long of a walk to begin with to go to a place that’s something of a dive, but that’s beside the point. I’m not sure if my mom and s’dad didn’t care for the walk, the “condiment caddy”, or the burgers, but… they were less than impressed. This was slightly disheartening as I really talked up MBB, but this had to happen at some point. Statistically speaking, I suppose they had to hate at least one of my favorite places. 😦

As mentioned: I love My Brother’s Bar – for several reasons:

  1. They have an assload of imported beers on tap, AND you can order by the pitcher.
  2. Their bison burgers kick ass. To add to the ass kicking, they even named their bison burger after CU’s mascot, Ralphie the Bison. Order the Ralphie Burger! (it’s not actually made of Ralphie… as far as you know…)
  3. MBB plays only the finest classical music, which makes it an even better choice for a dive, because you don’t know what to think when you’re sitting at a dive place that plays classical music, except that what you’re doing must be awesome. I think it’s the classiest dive in Denver.
  4. They have one of the best shaded patios in Denver. It’s one of my favorite places to spend Saturday afternoon to escape the hot Colorado sun.
  5. Unlike most Denver restaurants, MBB has its own parking lot that you do not have to pay for. Swish… score. Go there next weekend.

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West End Tavern

Boulder West End cheeseburger

This is as American as it gets, people.

Boulder West End Tavern beer

Barrel-aged brew lovers and Belgian beer fanatics usually end up at West End in Boulder.

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West End Boulder menu

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Steuben’s Food Service

Full review coming soon!

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Salt the Bistro

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Salt Bistro Boulder menu

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Oskar Blues (Lyons/Longmont)

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Russian Imperial Stout

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY – chocolate, caramel, coffee, and hops. Pair with rum balls!

Oskar Blues IPA Sampler

Oskar Blues IPA Sampler: Ska Modus Hoperandi, DFH 90 Minute, Avery Dugana, Firestone Walker Double Jack & Port Brewing 7th Anniversary DIPA

And yes – in addition to laying claim to one of the finest tap selections in Colorado, Oskar Blues also serves the best mashed potatoes in Longmont. No contest.

Oskar Blues mashed potatoes

The Albuquerque Turkey at Oskar Blues in Longmont – House smoked turkey, cranberry chipotle sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans

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Oskar Blues menu

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Jill’s Restaurant and Bistro

Full review coming soon!

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Southern Sun Pub & Brewery

the unchained eatery

Full review coming soon!

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Please note that Southern Sun is CASH ONLY, so plan accordingly. They do have a cash machine on site, but you’ll pay extra fees. Oh yes – you will.

 

The Sink

the unchained eatery

Stop in for one of the best gluten-free pizza crusts in Boulder… you may even run into President Obama.

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The Sink menu

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Waterloo Louisville

Full review coming soon!

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The Empire Lounge and Restaurant

Full review coming soon!

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Brasserie Ten Ten

Years ago, my friend Steve and I would visit the Brasserie pretty much every Friday for happy hour. It was (and is) simply one of the best spots in Boulder in terms of quality, value, service, and atmosphere. In fact, the Unchained Eatery may not be around today if it weren’t for Brasserie Ten Ten. It left an impression!

In 2007 – on a somewhat less sophisticated food blog (before I figured out that pairing actual *photos* with food blogging was a good idea) – I wrote my first restaurant review, which just happened to be about the Brasserie. Read it here.

For my money, there’s no better brunch in Boulder, but the Brass is also stellar for lunch, dinner, happy hour, and particularly dessert. Definitely check out the Parisienne Macarons, served four-per-plate for $3. Couple those with a glass of 20-year Taylor-Fladgate Port to end your night on a near-perfect note.

Parisienne Macarons at Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder

Boulder’s Best-Kept Dessert Secret: Parisienne Macarons paired with Taylor-Fladgate 20-year Port at Brasserie Ten Ten

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Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe

Full review coming soon!

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