Has Good Times gone bad in a good way?
Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard was born in Boulder in 1987 as Good Times Drive-Thru Burgers. Those were good times, indeed: '87 was a good year for banana hair clips, jelly shoes and skinny ties. But how on the burger-bombarded earth did Good Times manage to survive with the staggering amount of competition that's come up over the past 25 years? By adding frozen custard, for one. And now Good Times is pushing growth by pushing more burgers, but with a twist: It's partnering with Bad Daddy's Burger Bar, a small, little-known but feisty gourmet burger chain out of North Carolina.
J. Wohletz A good meal at Good Times.
Today, Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custards' parent company, Good Times Restaurants Inc., owns and operates 38 restaurants in Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota. It's considered a quick-service (a slightly new, slightly cooler way of saying "fast food") restaurant chain that's a step up from McDonald's and Burger King because it features patties made with Meyer all-natural, all-Angus beef; specialty chicken sandwiches; signature Wild Fries and fresh-cut fries; beer-battered onion rings; freshly prepared frozen custard in different flavors, sundaes and those thick, mixy spoonbenders.
J. Wohletz Soft bun, lots of chile.
The first time I ate at a Good Times I was scouting affordable housing in Denver, and I can definitively say that I had a much easier time finding this new-to-me, above-average burger joint than I did finding a cheap place to live downtown. I had a few sliders and a plain frozen-custard cup from the drive-thru, and the meal was so good I pulled into the parking lot in case I wanted more food. I did. I was pretty stoked about the slider, with its super-soft bun and beef that tasted like beef, and you know frozen custard is good when you like it without any toppings or candy bits.
My search for non-budget-annihilating housing hasn't ever stopped since I moved here, and my latest attempt to roof myself turned out to be just up the street from a handful of fast-food, er, quick-service favorites, including the Good Times location at 1105 South Havana Street in Denver (a wrapper's throw away from Aurora). So while unpacking, my first meal in my new place was a Good Times cheeseburger with green chile, onion rings, Wild Fries, a banana shake and a three-piece order of these hand-breaded chicken tenders I'd heard so much about.
After giving my order, I sat at an outdoor patio table to wait for the food and avoid my box-filled home, and thought about what the Good Times partnership with Bad Daddy's would add to the perpetually overcrowded burger scene here.
J. Wohletz The onion rings are almost too good.
Until the recent announcement of the Good Times deal, I'd known nothing about Bad Daddy's Burger Bar. Turns out there are currently five locations, all in the South; if this deal goes well, there will be seven -- a sixth spot in Cherry Creek and then another north of downtown. Bad Daddy's Burger Bar is a full-service, upscale, "small box" burger chain with a chef-driven (yes, there are burger chefs now) menu of gourmet burgers, chopped salads, appetizers and sandwiches, plus a full bar and craft microbrew beers. That alone should put the company in good standing with Colorado consumers.