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When Chris Heinz and Mike Mercatoris opened Grind in 2011, their mission was simple: “We wanted to get a little healthier and be a little more sustainable in a way that was still accessible,” says Heinz, a South Dakota native. At their restaurant (named for in-house meat grinding, not for filing edges or riding rails), Heinz brings a chef’s eye to the kitchen and an appreciation of quality to the table.
Despite some cutting-edge creations on the menu, the classic All-American burger—a beef patty with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion, ketchup, mustard, and mayo—is the most popular sandwich. Other coveted plates include Richie’s Lunch (a beef patty topped with bacon, caramelized onions, smoked provolone, lettuce, and gremolata mayo) and South by Southwest (a bison burger with melted Havarti, avocado, pico de gallo, jalapeño, lettuce, and chipotle mayo). Slow to catch on since Grind’s opening, lamb burgers now pull in locals and tourists alike. “The Medi [lamb burger] has a reputation now,” Heinz says. In fact, he eats this sandwich—garnished with roasted-red pepper-and-feta spread, tzatziki, marinated tomatoes, lettuce, and red onions—several times a week.
Don’t forget the fries. Grind’s hand-cut russets can stand alone. (Hint: A to-go order makes the last 40 miles from Glenwood Springs to Aspen’s mountains extra delectable.) Try them with one of Grind’s homemade dipping sauces, like the zippy green-curry mayo.
With good business, Grind may expand into a vacant space next door. That’s great news for diners who might actually want to sit down: The 24 seats inside Grind plus a select few on the patio are hot commodities.
But Grind isn’t the only popular burger joint dishing up deluxe burgers for hungry mountaingoers. Dig into these four burger joints (with relish).