Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

The big business of burgers on the Cherry Cricket patio

The Cherry Cricket's expansive new patio is a hit -- and the kitchen has taken a major hit trying to handle all the business. "Needless to say, the patio has been an overwhelming success," says Mark Schiffler, the chef who was an original partner in the Wynkoop Brewing Co., which transformed into the company that owns the Cricket. "We are doing twice the volume we projected - over 5,000 burgers last week. Normally a patio draws some of the inside business outside, but the Cricket seems to stay full on the inside also."

And with that success comes a challenge: getting all those burgers out in a timely fashion.

Short term, says Schiffler: "We've added another full-time cook to the cooks' line. We now have one cook who does nothing but cook burgers, a second cook who only handles cheese and toppings, and a third cook whose main job is to toast the buns."

But that's just the start of the changes. The Cricket will be opening a second cooks' line, "along with an expanded prep area, a service bar, a wait station and a second dish room," Schiffler explains. And that's in addition to the two new handicapped accessible bathrooms going on the back side of Norm's Room, the Cricket's expanded dining area. "We knew that these items would require much more planning, engineering, design review and inspections than the patio itself," he adds. "The actual kitchen plans are being engineered currently and will be submitted as soon as they're ready."

With any luck -- and smooth sailing through the city's permitting process -- the new kitchen at the Cricket, 2641 East Second Avenue, a regular Best Burger Bar winner in the Best of Denver, will be ready this fall.

In the meantime, if you encounter a wait for your burger while sitting on the patio, just order another beer and enjoy the passing parade.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun