Cheeseburgers are the primary reason I'm likely going to die in my late 40s, that and the quasi-poverty and stress-related gunshot wounds that accompany being a journalist.
But it will totally be worth it. Burgers are juicy and delicious, even if they are loaded with cholesterol and the commercial production of meat — unless PBS is lying to me, and I have no reason to believe they are lying to me — is contributing to the destruction of the environment.
I watch Frontline on PBS sometimes when I'm looking for reasons to self-exit the mortal coil — fortunately, I get lousy television reception in my apartment — and it apparently takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of grain-fed beef. That's a lot of water for four quarter pounders.
But as I said, my burger love and chosen profession has increased my mortality exponentially, so the bleak near future doesn't really concern me. I'll be dead, and the rest of you will be eating crickets, trying to explain what a cow was to your children and dodging the nocturnal mutant cannibals.
In the meantime, let's get our grub on.
1165 13th St.: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, bar is open later
The Sink started off as a European-style restaurant and officially became "The Sink" in 1940 having already been called that for years because of the sunken fountain in the dining room.
The restaurant sells burgers made with "certified Angus beef" with variations including the Texas Onion Straw, which made an appearance on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," a show staring a guy with very, very blonde hair. Not to mention, President Barack Obama stopped in for a bite when he was in town, and Robert Redford worked there as a janitor when he was a CU student in 1955. True stories.
2922 Baseline Road: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily
The Dark Horse offers 11 kinds of burgers on its menu. The one that jumps out is the Jiffy Burger, which has — wait for it — peanut butter, bacon and provolone cheese on top. It doesn't say if it's creamy or crunchy.
More importantly, the Dark Horse sells Rocky Mountain Oysters, which the menu describes as "cow fries," but we know what they really are. So order up a pair with some horseradish on the side and chow down.
The Dark Horse makes a cheap and delicious burger, and it has enough decor to keep your eyes busy.
Vegetarian options are available — for the burgers, not the Rocky Mountain Oysters. That would just be weird.
Mountain Sun and Southern Sun
1535 Pearl St.: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily, 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday
627 S. Broadway: 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday-Sunday
Mountain Sun and Southern Sun hand cut their french fries, which is awesome and begs the question: Why doesn't every restaurant in the free world do this? They taste far superior than measly frozen ones.
The restaurants also say right on the menus that if your fries aren't perfect, they will bring you some more. Also awesome, because nothing is worse than getting a juicy burger with french fries that taste like they fought in the great war.
Speaking of burgers, the brewpubs' two locations make their burgers with "all natural, vegetarian-fed Colorado beef with no antibiotics or steroids." This means they are still eligible to play Olympic baseball — and likely more healthy.
Note: The locations don't accept credit cards, but they do take personal checks. If you are an 18-year-old incoming freshman, allow me to explain: Checks are rectangular pieces of paper that people used to pay for items with. Often, the person in front of you in line would wait until the very last minute to begin filling it out.
The Attic Bar and Bistro
949 Walnut St.: 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily
The Attic offers a variety of burgers and sandwiches along with other pretty standard pub fare — like fish and chips and jalapeño poppers. There is a good variety for everyone, including salads and hummus for all you lettuce people.
But we're talking burgers here. The eye-catcher on the menu has to be the Bucky Supreme — a burger with three kinds of cheese and bacon sandwiched between two — count 'em — two grilled cheese sandwiches.
Less fancy; still counts
Here are some quick bites for when you, or your wallet, are in the mood for something more fast-casual:
• Five Guys, 1855 29th St., 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
• Larkburger, 2525 Arapahoe Ave., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
• Smashburger, 1650 28th St., 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
• Snarfburger, 2000 Arapahoe Ave., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
John Bear: twitter.com/johnbearwithme