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The Famous burger not most famous

Burger from The FamousOnce again COLORADO SPRINGS STYLE nominates THE FAMOUS for the city’s best burger. It ran against the usual lineup of respectable dining establishments plus King’s Chef, the token dive, but there were notable omissions worth pointing out. At the crux, The Famous grinds their own hamburger from bits trimmed from nonpareil $40 steaks, but we’re talking Iowa corn-fed variety, not prairie grass fed beef. You can find a free-range burger at Adams Mountain, which is listed, and Manitou’s The Keg, which is not. The health aspect is a first omission that might have informed local diners immeasurably.

Ranch Foods Direct, and their packing house on the west side, is a regional wholesaler of sustainable, safe meat. But they supply only a few local joints, from The Blue Star to Cy’s Drive-in, to Barney’s. If their burgers didn’t make the culinary grade, I think it’s worth noting they are orders of magnitude healthier than what the others are serving. Get that word out, and those restaurants charging $12.95 for a burger will allocate some of their cost to better beef.

Conways Red Top was also overlooked, whose burger is arguably Colorado Springs’ most famous. Red Top’s giant burger had its own chapter in Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation. The local chain was praised for its favorable labor practices and better food sources, in comparison to its fast food competitors. Red Top has since made some compromises with its hamburger patties, but they’re still a local favorite. I remember once taking some Norb’s Whole Burgers from carryout to a Spring Spree park event downtown. Amid brats and roast turkey legs, Hawaiian tacos and the usual concession fare, everyone wanted what we were having.

Thankfully STYLE ignored the fast food chains, the ceaseless Carl’s Junior ad barrage notwithstanding. Likewise there was no dwelling on the corporate theme restaurants for whom the better burger is a raison d’etre. Those omissions, if you’re avoiding the mad-cow feed-lots, meet our approval.

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