Route 85

By Nancy Clark

“Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger. Chips. No fries. No Coke. Pepsi.”

Boomers recognize the skit instantly. It was 1978 when John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Loraine Newman immortalized the Billy Goat Tavern Restaurant in Chicago on Saturday Night Live. Want a tuna sandwich? Not getting one here.

Bud’s Café and Bar at 5453 Manhart St. in Sedalia, Colo. has been serving up burgers for more than 65 years and since 2005 has scored Best Burger and Best Hamburger awards from Westword along with rave reviews on Yelp, Tripadvisor, Facebook, Citysearch and others. The insanely popular joint serves plain and cheeseburgers plainly, in a plastic basket with a paper liner. A small bowl of onion slices and pickles gives guests options to gussy up their burger. Fries are extra. Chips complement the burgers perfectly.

From the center of Denver to Sedalia is a 50-mile round trip. Well worth it.

At 5,840 feet above sea level, the 1.351 mile hiccup along South Santa Fe Drive is home to slightly over 200 folks in 94 households, according to the 2010 census. Established in 1859 by John H. Craig when he staked a claim at the juncture of East and West Plum creeks, the panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains is postcard worthy.

In the 157 years since Craig put down stakes, Sedalia has managed to remain tiny, a gem along a stretch of highway running from Littleton to Castle Rock. Sedalia had its own church (built in 1887) and train depot. The Manhart family owned the General Merchandise store that was home to the post office. Fire Engine No. 1 housed a horse-drawn wagon to pull water to the scene of a fire, the firefighters were community volunteers whose skills were tested early on.  Pre-1900 photos ( tell of a rugged life and pioneering spirit. 

Drive, don’t blink. or you’ll miss the turnoff  to the south of Route 85. Bud’s Bar is a short distance south encircled by dozens of cars filled with dining guests willing to wait almost any length of time to catch a booth at Bud’s. If you need motivation to get off the couch for a Sunday drive and the best burger on earth, watch this clip of Saturday Night Live:

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