The 5 Greatest Dishes Invented in Colorado

Completely satisfied Colorado Day! On August 1, we’re celebrating a state filled with pure magnificence in addition to many man-made marvels. This state’s culinary creativity has cooked up all the pieces from Jolly Rancher candies to Chipotle burritos; Coors beer and a few of the nation’s finest craft brews run by our historical past.

Colorado can be the place many chains bought their begin, from Chitpotle (whose first spot, on East Evans, opened precisely thirty years in the past), to Qdoba, Noodles & Firm and Quiznos, whose authentic location in Cap Hill lastly closed earlier this yr.

Right here, in honor of the state’s 147th birthday, we have reheated our record of 5 favourite Colorado meals innovations:

click on to enlarge close up peanut butter, jelly and bacon

Sure, Elvis ate this.


Idiot’s Gold Loaf

Within the 2014 movie What If, two twenty-something hipsters in Toronto begin speaking a couple of sandwich that was created in Denver nearly forty years in the past, when the Colorado Mine Firm was the most well liked restaurant in Glendale, beloved by athletes, cops…and Elvis. Nick Andurlakis, who was within the restaurant’s kitchen one night time when the King got here by the again door, on the town for a live performance and hungry, later opened Nick’s Cafe at 777 1/2 Simms Road in Lakewood, the place he served a model of the Idiot’s Gold sandwich till Nick’s closed in March 2022.

If you wish to re-create this indelicate delicacy at house, it is mainly a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with bacon, made with two tablespoons of margarine, one loaf of French bread, one pound of bacon, one jar of peanut butter and one jar of grape jelly. You are taking the bread, bathe it in butter on all sides, bake it, intestine it after which fill the within with peanut butter and jelly — and bacon, sans grease, which you take up by putting it between two paper towels.

Root Beer Float

There are a number of tales concerning the invention of the basis beer float floating round, however most individuals credit score Frank Wisner with the creation of the favored ice cream drink. He was looking of his window at Colorado’s Cow Mountain and determined that the snow on prime regarded like ice cream floating in a darkish drink. Sure, that is all it took: The following day, he dropped a scoop of ice cream in some root beer, and the well-known concoction was born.

Shredded Wheat

As you begin your morning proper with a bowl of shredded wheat, you’ll be able to thank Henry Perkins. He is the Denver man who developed a way of processing wheat into strips, which made the cereal doable. 

a stone marker

The Humpty-Dumpty is gone, however its burger achievement lives on.

Mark Antonation


Though quite a few cooks have claimed credit score for being the primary to place cheese on a burger, Louis Ballast was awarded the “cheeseburger” trademark in 1935. Right now a monument stands at 2755 Speer Boulevard, the place he as soon as flipped burgers — after which added cheese — at his Humpty-Dumpty Drive-In. Whereas that location is now house to a KeyBank and any style of Ballast’s burgers is long-gone, Denver does have numerous standouts within the class. Try our record of the ten finest burgers within the metropolis, in addition to our favourite old-school burger joints. 

a yellow building next to a purple building

Have a good time the state with a Mexican hamburger at Chubby’s.

Danielle Lirette

Mexican Hamburger

Yow will discover a Mexican hamburger on the menu of nearly each Mexican restaurant in Denver — and numerous eating places the place the dish is the kitchen’s solely declare to something Mexican. However because it seems, there’s nothing Mexican to this hamburger: It was invented at Joe’s Buffet, a traditional dive on Santa Fe Drive within the late ’60s, and from there the dish unfold throughout city. Gustavo Arellano, creator of Ask a Mexican, wrote the e book on Mexican meals on this nation — Taco USA: How Mexican Meals Conquered America — and proclaimed Denver’s Mexican hamburger “the Holy Grail of Mexican-American cookery,” lauding its “tacky, mixed-up glory.” 

This is his description of the dish from Taco USA:

Brace yourselves, of us: beneath that Syracuse Orangeman-hued goop lies the construction of a burrito—a flour tortilla containing refried beans, your alternative of meat, and a grilled hamburger patty, nearly extant in form. This model is smothered, which suggests Colorado’s traditional tackle inexperienced chile (flecked with pork, and ready as a gravy) drowns the burrito burger with its viscous, spicy glory. The flour tortilla itself is cooked nicely till it turns into agency, till you’ll be able to slice off a bit and it will not flop round in your fork because it enters your mouth.

I’ve had puffy tacos in San Antonio, wonderful bowls of the inexperienced in Albuquerque, the Mexican scorching canine of El Paso, and gargantuan Mission burritos in San Francisco, however the Mexican hamburger—discovered solely in Denver, a lot to the shock of the Mile Excessive Metropolis’s residents, who at all times thought their dish, just like the Broncos, had a nationwide attain—is the dish that finest personifies the Mexican-American expertise. The tortilla is wholly indigenous; its flour rendition, the legacy of Spain. The concentrate on inexperienced chile locations it firmly within the Southwest; its gravy presentation, the legacy of Tex-Mex. The hamburger patty, after all, is wholly American—however even that has a German previous. The mixture of all is pure rascuache. And the style? Heavy, thick, but the Mexican hamburger at its finest retains all of the flavors of its distinct components. I solely ate half of this, having to cease myself as a result of I had simply eaten a sandwich, a taco, and one other burrito.

Let the Baylessistas scream—this can be a dish as Mexican because the Templo Mayor, as American because the Washington Monument, as Chicano as SanTana. And few dishes have as juicy a again story: its most-famous vendor is Chubby’s, a legendary chain run by matriarch Stella Cordova till she was nearing the century mark. However the one above comes from Bubba Chino’s, run by her grandson Leonard, who’s sadly strained from most of his relations, who ripped off their abuelita’s identify earlier than she had even handed on, a lot to Stella’s disapproval.

Ah, Mexicans, at all times combating amongst ourselves—however there you might have it, of us: the Mexican hamburger, the meal of mestizaje at its tastiest.

Though Joe’s Buffet closed many years in the past (the area is at present vacant) and Stella Cordova has handed on, the unique Chubby’s nonetheless serves certainly one of Denver’s finest Mexican hamburgers…even when it is doing so from a a lot tidier constructing that occupies what had been the parking zone.
Have one on Colorado Day!

This story has been up to date from the unique 2014 model.