First visit: February 2012
And here's the third installment of the Keller-goes-bar-and-burgers. Of the three establishments so far, Keller Tavern is definitely the most bar of the lot. I truly love the interior of this place. A simple A-frame low roof, architected in the German or Swiss style, with a dark wood interior. Honestly I felt like I was in the upper Midwest as soon as I entered the building. Like I suddenly stumbled into a tavern in Green Bay or Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Even though it was 65 degrees outside, I imagined it was more like 20, and was grateful to be cuddled up in the warmth of the tavern. And a nice beer...
Since I'm on a burger kick, and that's the comparison point for these 3 places, I went for their Tavern Bacon Burger. Unlike the last two restaurants, Keller Tavern is strictly menu driven, and doesn't offer a dizzying array of choices for your burger. And that's because the Keller Tavern isn't really a burger joint and they offer what I'd call "upscale pub food", which we see more often in Colorado than here. There's another level on this genre called Gastropubs, which are usually marquee name chef driven, but Keller Tavern isn't fancy in that way. Which is fine by the RJG. Upscale pub food works for us. In any case, it's probably good that Keller Tavern doesn't rely solely on burgers. While it was certainly good, and I wouldn't say different, it certainly wasn't great. Ironically enough, the best part was the bun - a nicely crafted Kaiser roll. I say ironically only because the bun was the weakness of the other two! The meat patty was not aesthetically pleasing. In fact it was... and this sounds worse than it is, but it's still a fact.... gray. Gray meat. It was cooked well done and all that, but it was still gray. If Mrs. RJG* saw that, she would never step foot in the place again. And the "crispy bacon" was no such thing. It was rather limp actually. Despite all of that - I did like the burger. The fries were of the crispy seasoned variety that I've had at other such diners and taverns, and they were excellent. But on my next visit, I'll try something other than a hamburger.
As for the bar portion, I was happy to see they had a couple of micros on tap. I went for the Rahr & Sons (Ft.Worth) Iron Thistle, which is a powerful Scotch Ale (Rahr's call it a Scottish Ale, which to me is considerably different). First time I've seen that on tap. It's an excellent beer that I've had many times before. In fact, I have one in the fridge right now. Is it too early? Hmmm... They also had Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, which isn't obscure but better than just the usual Bud-Miller-Coors (BMC).
The fourth restaurant on this block is Bronson's Burger & Beer, which has the most direct naming convention for what's going on here. It doesn't appear they're open for lunch though - at least they weren't for this week. As such, it may be awhile before I try it. Will need a free evening, and those are pretty scarce.
So let's recap the last three places. All 3 bring something positive, and it's difficult to pick a favorite (so I won't). Let's break it down into two categories:
1. Bottlecap Alley
3. Keller Tavern
Ambience / Hangoutability:
1. Keller Tavern
3. Bottlecap Alley
If you're just looking for a great hamburger, go to Bottlecap Alley. If you want to hang out with friends and munch on some appetizers, try Keller Tavern. Want a little of both - Yourway is the place to go.
*You'll note Mrs. RJG's absence on the last 3 blog entries. She's no burger hound, so she opted out of my latest venture. But I think she'll like all of them - just need to find the right dish for her (she'd definitely like the burgers at Bottlecap Alley though).