The setting: an airy, modern dining room on the ground floor of the tallest structure downtown in a mid-sized city in the Western U.S., yes, Grand Junction.
The time: mid-afternoon, after the lunch crowd has left.
Man to Woman: Why is this burger so good?
Woman at another table: We were just asking ourselves the same thing. How can a burger be so good?
Man at the second table: It’s not like we haven’t had plenty of great burgers.
Woman at the first table: This is the best burger I’ve ever had.
First man: Seriously.
Yes, chefs long ago learned to get the proportion of fat to lean just right in the freshly ground beef, to fine-tune the soft and chewy house-made bun, and to use a sharp aioli in place of McDonald’s special sauce. But the burger at Bin 707 in GJ is up there with the very best, and one reason is that it’s not a whopper. The patty here is thin but broad, allowing the white cheddar to caramelize into the beef and the patty to reach to the edges of the bun. And here’s what’s really out of hand: This burger with (really great) skinny fries is only $6 at Happy Hour, only $7 at lunch or dinner.
What a loss leader! Because you may come for the burger, but if chef /owner Josh Niernberg can make a burger this phenomenal, you know his more up-market offerings have to be great. You can’t sit there, sipping a fine wine by the glass, from a not overwhelming wine list, and not order some Blistered Shishito Peppers ($7) to start, swirling them alternately in a mound of sea salt, smoked paprika and agave nectar. Niernberg, who apprenticed with a number of Denver’s best chefs (Kevin Taylor, Sean Yontz), has brought serious restaurant smarts to Grand Junction, arriving thanks to his marriage to a Grand Junction woman, Jodi Niernberg, who, along with her family is part of the business. (You may spot Jodi behind the bar or her mom as hostess.)
If GJ can support Bin 707, and it appears to be doing so smashingly, could GJ be the next down valley lifestyle town of the West, joining Bend, Glenwood, Flagstaff and Durango? In addition to boasting culinary chops, Niernberg was a pro snowboarder for ten years, and says there’s a growing community in GJ of similarly like-minded young recreationalists, attracted by the city’s low cost housing, jobs, and proximity to rivers, canyons and mountains.
Some items on the breakfast/brunch/lunch menu: ham and grits ($7), lobster and shrimp roll ($11), and a roast duck sandwich, served on a crusty baguette, with pork pate adding musky depth ($8). Dinner items change frequently but may include sweet potato dumplings served with slow roasted chicken, sautéed Swiss chard, sour cherry syrup and aged goat cheese ($16) or a “Domestic Kobe” Lifter Steak served with leek and mint pesto ($21).
THE VIBE: An urban hip restaurant … a copper topped bar, butcher paper on the tables, huge windows, high ceilings, yes, in Grand Junction. This ain’t no sports bar. That’s the Food Channel on the TV at the bar.
ALREADY WORLD FAMOUS FOR: The burger, of course, and the fries, just to get you started.
DON’T MISS: Crack pie, so named because it’s as addictive as… adapted from an invention of the famous NY chef David Chang (Momofuku), “but better,” a guy at the bar, who had clearly been to Momofuku, opined. Oatmeal cookie crust filled with a caramel/butterscotch filling. You will want to gnaw on the bone of the inch-thick, salty, sweet Berkshire Pork “Tomahawk” because it’s far too good for the dog, so easily satisfied with Kibble.
$$ 7 days a week, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.