While the original Cherry Cricket at 2641 East Second Avenue in Cherry Creek has a far more iconic menu, including a green chile recipe that dates back more than twenty years, regulars at Breck on Blake had their house favorites, too. The two restaurants were both owned by Breckenridge-Wynkoop, but their green chile recipes had sprung up separately and developed independent followings.
One customer in particular at the downtown eatery wasn't thrilled when the Cherry Cricket moved in, bringing its own green chile to replace the one he had loved for years. Rob Toftness, who lives next door, started a campaign to bring back the Breck on Blake chile, even printing up T-shirts and buying frozen green chile by the gallon when he found out it would be discontinued.
Fearon Perry, head of marketing for the Cherry Cricket, says the chile choice had been a topic of conversation even before Toftness began his campaign. "It has been an internal debate, because we try to have a consistent menu," she explains.
So the Cricket came up with a way to let customers choose which green chile will be champ at both restaurant locations. "We pride ourselves on being a people's choice, with our burgers and our green chile," Perry adds. Because of that, both Cherry Cricket locations are letting customers vote on their favorite, from July 9 to 18.
Here's how it works: Head to either Cricket and order the A/B Chile Taste-Off. For $2, you'll get unmarked bowls of each chile and two flour tortillas. All proceeds will be donated to the Denver Rescue Mission, and you'll be able to turn in a vote for the one you like best.
Then on Thursday, July 19, the votes will be tallied and there will be a People's Choice Results Party from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Blake Street Cricket, where the winning chile will be announced. That winner will go on the fall menu at both Cherry Crickets. But if your favorite wasn't chosen, don't lament; the second-place chile will be offered periodically as a special.
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Along with the people's choice announcement, there will be a live tasting panel with three judges: 7 News weather forecaster Katie LaSalle, a second yet-to-be-named judge, and Westword Food & Drink editor Mark Antonation (that's me, in case you missed the byline). The judges will share their preferences, but it will be up to the Cricket's loyal customers to make the final decision.
The party on July 19 is free, but the Cherry Cricket requests that you register on Eventbrite so that management will know how many people to expect.
The pressure is on, citizens of Denver. When it comes to green chile, every vote counts.
This post was updated at 1:15 p.m. on July 3, 2018, with a new price ($2) for the chile taste-off dish, and to indicate that 100 percent of sales of the dish will be donated.