Applebee’s team creates award-winning burger

The winning burger.

Mmmm, burger.

Four employees of the Grand Junction Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, 711 Horizon Drive, soon will find the burger they invented for sale at all Applebee’s restaurants statewide, and one day could even see it go national.

That happened when the cooking team won a company contest to create the restaurant chain’s first “Colorado Burger.”

The team — manager Traci Douma, bartender Holly Moon, server Kelsey Deitz and cook Kevin Inman — created the “Chimichanga Burger” as part of a statewide contest to find the perfect Colorado burger.

They were among 27 entries, including a competing team in their own Grand Junction restaurant.

“Sometimes we like to deviate from the menu a little bit at Applebee’s, and a cook had made a bartender a deep-fried burrito. It was so good, we were still talking about it the next day,” Douma said. “We saw the flier for the burger contest and just thought we’d put our craving to the test. We never expected to win.”

The team’s concoction is a 7-ounce Angus-beef burger topped with cheese and spicy diced vegetables, wrapped in a tortilla.

It’s then fried to a golden brown and covered with green chilli, more cheese — “of course, because cheese makes everything delicious” — a dash of pico de gallo and some sour cream, she said.

“It’s pretty much a knife and a fork kind of sandwich,” Douma said.

As the winners, the four got to split $5,000 and will see their creation featured later this month in new Applebee’s menus across the state, possibly even with their pictures on it.

Angela D’Amario, spokeswoman for the restaurant chain, said the burger was chosen from five finalists, one of which included a chipotle burger also created by a team in Grand Junction. That burger featured habanero cheese, green chili, black bean salsa and chipotle mayonnaise. The burger came in third during a judging contest in Denver last weekend.


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