Skip to Content

Denver’s Famous Mexican Burger

You may not know it but Denver is famous for its Mexican burger. Refried beans and a burger are stuffed in a tortilla and smothered with green chile!

You may not know it but Denver is famous for its Mexican burger.

This Mexican hamburger was actually concocted at a now defunct restaurant, Joe’s Buffet, in the 60’s.

What is a Mexican Hamburger?

Though this looks like standard Tex-Mex fare through research (that I didn’t do), I am happy to say that the Mile High City lays claim to this iconic beef burger that is grilled and placed on a flour tortilla spread with refried beans and topped with green chile.

It’s fun to read about famous foods from all over and I am happy to report that Denver is known for more than its Rocky Mountain oysters!

Don’t know what those are? Well, they are the part of the steer that a cow doesn’t have!

And yes, I had plenty in my college days when we used to go to Bruce’s Bar in Severance, Colorado and drank lots of beer and ate these fried “delicacies” with cocktail sauce.

Yes, Colorado is a great place to live!

Mexican Burgersmothered in cheese and green chile on colorful plate

Famous Denver Food

No Philly cheese steaks here, but we are know for our lamb, trout and local breweries.

Local produce such as Palisade peaches, Rocky Ford cantaloupe and Olathe sweet corn, all start showing up in early July.

But the Denver omelette is year-round!

It’s great to have local farmers close by and summer food really wets my taste buds.

Don’t forget Colorado style green chile which has pork and tomatoes and is different than my New Mexican style green chile.

Want to know some of my Denver favorites? Who knows-maybe you will come visit!

You can find really good Colorado style green chile at La Loma and El Taco de Mexico, which has been honored by the James Beard society.

Not a fancy place and no Margaritas, but really good food.

For Margaritas make sure you hit La Loma!

The Buckhorn Exchange is Denver’s oldest restaurant and may as well be a history museum. Go for the steak!

It’s actually where we are going this year to celebrate Alex and Zoe’s 32nd birthday!

Mexican burger with fork on plate

Ice cream on a warm summer evening?

By all means hit Little Man ice cream or Bonnie Brae-just because Zoe loves it and Evan used to work there!

I’m a fan of the Triple Death Chocolate!

Best burgers? There are so many, but we love The Cherry Cricket and soon they will be opening one by me. Hurray!

The Denver food scene is always evolving and yes, there is great food to be had here in the local restaurants, here in the Rocky Mountains!

Amazingly we also have great sushi and the freshest seafood is flown in daily by the owners of Izakaya Den and Sushi Den.

By all means if you love sushi, visit and also explore Pearl Street.

Denver restaurants often offer a great happy hour. In the DTC area we hit up Ocean Prime, Ruth’s Chris and Pappadeaux’s.

But the best restaurants-meaning not chains, are located near downtown.

Famous Mexican burger on colorful plate with red striped napkin

It’s fun going to Denver’s original food halls.

The Source and Denver Central Market both are fun to explore.

My other fave is the Dairy Block which isn’t far from Union Station, which is a great place to go also.

The great hall is perfect for people watching.

Make sure to grab a gin and tonic from Ultreia and have a few tapas while you’re there.

Don’t forget to explore the River North arts district, and grab a New York bagel from Rosenberg’s bagels.

Really, they supposedly have figured out the secret of the water!

My favorite Italian restaurant is Bar Dough in the Highlands area, but a close second is Spuntino for handmade pasta.

Don’t miss the fabulous Rosales Mexican bakery across the street.

Leave time to walk around Cherry Creek North.

It is constantly changing but there are some unique boutiques, great restaurants and several new boutique hotels that have recently opened.

Play ping pong and eat dumplings at Ace Eat Serve on 17th.

Our art museum is fabulous, too.

Mexican hampburger in tortilla with green chile

But tasty dishes are what I’m about and just make sure you are on the look out for the Mexican burger.

Want a great breakfast and a Mexican burger? If you’re downtown go to Sam’s #3, another popular restaurant that kind of is a dive at the same time!

And if you have a car, don’t miss Red Rocks. Great for a concert, perfect for a hike and truly amazing views of Denver.

Plus if you’re into dinosaurs you can do the dinosaur trail near there.

Have fun exploring the mile-high city, but be prepared that restaurants do change.

So I’d always advise calling first!

But back to the the Mexican burger which everyone should be on the hunt for.

The Mexican Burger is smothered in green chile.

Often found at Mexican restaurants and diners, this burger can be easily made at home.

Now is the time to seek out chile roasters. I always head over to Federal Blvd to find mine. (Federal Blvd is also where the best Vietnames restaurants are found!)

I buy a bushel, clean them and then freeze for future use.

If the only thing you make green chile for is this Mexican burger, well that’s a mighty good reason to me.

Green chile is the best way to make everything taste better-just top your scrambled eggs with this and you will know what I’m talking about.

Mexican burger on colorful plate

But the other great way to use green chile is making this smothered Mexican burger!

Now we’re talking good food, shall we?

This local favorite is just a good time to satisfy all your Mexican cravings!

Need Some More?


chilaquiles on yellow late

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Burger

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Burger

Mexican Poblano Cheese Casserole


Poblano casserole 1 of 1

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Mexican burger with fork on plate

Denver’s Famous Mexican Burger

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 75 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Mexican/American


Though this may seem very Tex-Mex, this Mexican burger encased in a tortilla spread with refried beans, and smothered in green chile is famous in Denver!


Units Scale

Green Chile Recipe Here (I doubled this to get 8 servings.)

Refried Beans 1 large can 28 oz

1 t cumin

1 t oregano

1 t garlic powder

2 T bacon grease

6 slices bacon

1/2 c sour cream

Salt and Pepper

Chicken Broth

6 flour Large tortillas 10″ (not burrito size)

6 c finely grated sharp cheddar cheese

3 diced tomatoes

1 bunch scallions

2 lbs ground chuck

Morton’s kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder




Prepare green chile.

Prepare refried beans. Cook bacon in a non-stick skillet until crisp. Reserve bacon grease and bacon.

In the same skillet with 2 T of bacon grease add refried beans and seasonings. Heat and whisk until blended. Taste for seasonings. Add sour cream for consistency and flavor. Stir in chicken broth if mixture gets too thick. Keep warm until ready to use.

Stir garlic powder, salt and pepper into ground beef. Shape into 8 ¼ lb patties. Set aside until ready to fry.

Heat a cast iron skillet until hot. Add patties without crowding. Season again and cook for approximately 2.30 minutes on each side.

To assemble: Heat tortillas in a moist paper towel for 45 seconds. Place individually on oven-proof plates. Spread ⅓ c refried beans on each tortilla. Top with burger. Fold over tortilla. Cover with ½ c grated cheddar cheese. Place under broiler to melt cheese. Remove and spoon green chile around entire plate. Take out and garnish with lettuce and tomatoes. Sprinkle bacon and chicharrones, cilantro and scallions on top.

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Sunday 6th of November 2022

Oh man, this is going at the top of my MUST MAKE list! And I love, love your Vietri and vintage Pottery Barn plates, they’re so perfect for this recipe!


Monday 7th of November 2022

I have had those dishes for 32 years. So funny you knew. I really miss the old Pottery Barn when you could find treasures! Thanks for reading!


Tuesday 18th of October 2022

Abbe, this Mexican-style burger looks ah-mazing!! I love all the flavors and that green chili looks so flavorful! I've pinning this recipe and I'm adding this to our menu plan to try next week!! Can't wait, thanks! 💛

John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 28th of September 2022

Hi Abbe, I just wanted to drop by to let you know we've just posted our last blog post. You're one of my earliest blogging friends, and I've so enjoyed our friendship. I'll just be reading your blog, but we've got a lot of activities on tap so my visits be become rather sporadic. Best wishes to you.

Healthy World Cuisine

Sunday 25th of September 2022

Now this is our kind of burger! It has it all going on. Maybe not the perfect dining option for Rosh Hashanah but delicious all the same. Wishing you a happy holiday.


Saturday 10th of September 2022

Here's another burger I have to try! Sounds delicious and with bacon! Unfortunately, Hatch green chiles are hard to find here but will persevere!