Tour de France theme and Belgian beers headline new pub
Rueben Verplank knows bicycle racing and he knows burgers, so when Rueben’s Burger Bistro opened a few weeks ago, it opened with a Tour de France decorative theme — a major turnaround from the space’s previous occupants, a French fine-dining place and a Scottish pub. Walls are painted in Tour de France jersey colors — yellow for all-over leader, green for sprint leader, white for best young rider and polka dot for King of the Mountain. All that is missing are a few stuffed animals — lions specifically — awarded to each day’s stage winner.
Framed historic black-and-white Tour photos are hung on these symbolically colored walls. One, blown up to mural-size, shows competitors back in the day, lounging around with beer and cigarettes. Boulder all but outlaws photos of someone smoking, so this is a rare sight in the People’s Republic. With a pressed-tin ceiling overhead and stone underfoot, Rueben’s gets loud fast — even if the place isn’t full. Canned music also reverberates. But I suspect people will come here mostly for a lively atmosphere, good burgers and a fabulous selection of Belgian beers, many found nowhere else around. Rueben’s small offering of above-par wines by the glass please those who prefer grape to grain.
Rueben’s grills gourmet burgers that are named after Tour stages, cycling terms and legendary racers. Their thick and juicy, burgers with various toppings come on distinctive pretzel buns. Here, melted cheddar, grilled onions and BBQ sauce. The salad ordered instead of fries was a Caesar.
And did I mention the moules frites? Rueben’s makes an outstanding version of this Franco-Belgian specialty: the plumpest, sweetest mussels I’ve had in ages, perfectly steamed, bathed in gentle broth and topped with nicely browned fries. The dipping sauce, reminiscent of Russian dressing, seemed superfluous.
The side salad, at least at happy hour, is nothing special and was on the small side, but the side order of frites (brought by mistake but left for us to enjoy anyway) is huge. I didn’t photograph it. After all, how many fotos of phries — I mean photos of fries — do you need to see?