UPDATED 12/31/2019: Royal Burger is now closed.
Last Sunday we hopped on our bikes and did some neighborhood exploration, riding northwest to Berkeley.
I’d read that Tennyson Street was a popular destination for Denver foodies, housing a number of primo restaurants and eateries (a few that caught my eye — the upscale Greek diner Axios Estiatorio and the biscuit/bar/pizza joint Atomic Cowboy both looked great), and I was not disappointed — we had a plethora of choices when it came time to eat a late lunch.
I was in the mood for some hearty fare so we headed to Royal, a super-cute burger joint in the middle of town. It’s got a quirky upscale vintage vibe with huge colorful a pop culture picture wall behind the bar (artist renderings of J.Lo, the Royal Tenenbaums, and Alan Rickman as Snape were some of my faves) and beautiful blue leather banquets and sparkly drop crystal chandeliers.
In addition to an exhaustive list of burgers (including a build-your-own option), they also feature a menu of “boozy floats.” One part ice cream shake + one part alcohol = a whole lot of delicious trouble. Oh mama!
In an attempt to keep it classy on a Sunday, the hard liquor got put on the back burner and instead we scored some Happy Hour deals: two-for-one drafts (90 Shilling Amber by Odell Brewing out of Fort Collins, CO – goes great with a lime- and Titan IPA by Great Divide straight outta Denver) and an appetizer of fried brussels sprouts with some de-lic-ous mustard sauce that we could not get enough of (we even asked for a second helping)!
I love a good burger. The smell of grilled meat makes my mouth water, and there something so satisfying about biting into a juicy patty and having grease run down the sides of my mouth and onto my hands makes that makes it feel like a decedent pleasure. But as much as I love it, a few years ago I decided to drastically cut my red meat from my diet for health reasons: Studies have shown that eating red meat on a regular basis can shorten your lifespan and is a major factor in serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
I avoid cooking red meat at home, so normally the only time I do have it is when I go out to eat. However, if there is a non-red meat option that is appealing, I always try to favor that over a meat dish.
That said, I was psyched to see I could sub the beef patty on the Medici burger for a house-prepared veggie option made of roasted beets, brown rice, black beans, oats, egg, garlic, and red onion. The waitress commented that the substitution was one of her favorites. For the side order of fries (eating a burger without fries or tater tots is a crime against humanity in my book), we went for the healthier (relatively speaking) sweet potato option.
The burgers are HUGE! Nearly died trying to finish this puppy. Loved the pairing of the beet-based veggie burger with the Burrata cheese, basil pesto and bib lettuce. I’m not going to lie to you and say that veggie burgers taste anything like meat burgers, but I will say that plant-based patties like this one can be just as satisfying, and they are way better for the environment and your arteries.
Another happy (and full) Royal customer!
So what do you think, are you willing to hold the beef and take the veggie burger plunge?
Royal – 4000 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212
- Decor: Quirky upscale vintage
- Crowd: Families and couples
- Recommended: Medici burger with veggie patty substitute. Get there for Happy Hour (3-6pm) for two-for-one drafts and the fried brussels sprouts
- Music: Get your lighters out – this place has a classic Americana soundtrack. “Dream On” by Aerosmith