The Cherry Cricket, or “The Cricket” as its called by Colorado residents, is a restaurant and bar that sits in the middle of one of Denver’s most posh communities: Cherry Creek North. It has been in its present location since 1951 and not only has a history, but still looks forward to the future.
The Cherry Cricket has been and always will be a neighborhood bar and restaurant. Long before the Cherry Creek Mall and all of its shopping extravaganzas, before the Denver Botanic Gardens and even before John Elway, the Cherry Creek shopping district was a dump, literally. It was one of Denver’s largest landfills. However, the workers from that landfill and the trash routes surrounding frequented the restaurant daily, making it the workingman’s place to go get some great food and a tasty libation or two. Now with nearly 5,000 residents living in Cherry Creek, there are an endless number of possibilities of who will walk through the doors looking for a famous Cricket Angus burger.
One thing that makes The Cricket such a neighborhood favorite is that it is almost always open. It only closes its doors two days a year: Christmas and Thanksgiving (and a third day if and only if the Fourth of July falls on a weekday). That is dependability that customers who drive from Ft. Collins, CO and even as far away as Grand Junction, CO can count on. During heavy snows and blizzards, The Cricket is one of the hottest spots to go for pork green chili. Neighborhood residents have been known to cross-country ski and snowshoe in to get the wonderful flavors that the restaurant produces.
The establishment has changed owners over the years, but in 1990 Elizabeth Peck McGuire, also known as ‘Eli,’ bought it with her husband, eventually restoring its reputation and making it what it is today. In 2000, Eli passed away and arranged for the Wynkoop Brewery to take over ownership, holding true the same traditions, values and success that Eli built. And Eli’s request has been more than fulfilled.
Some of the success and awards that have been built here by Eli include:
Best beer selection – 1994
Best burger – 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2009
Best green chili – 1996
Best chicken wings – 1999
Best burger bar – 2005, 2009
Best green chili cheeseburger – 2006
Not to mention rated “Top of the Town” in numerous categories throughout the years by 5280 Magazine.
The Wall Street Journal had the Cherry Cricket’s half-pound burger as the number three burger in the nation, until the actual release of the Top Burgers in the Nation in 2007. Due to a nasty snow storm, when Raymond Sokolov set out to find the Nation’s best burger, the Cherry Cricket was left out because he couldn’t get into Denver. When the release came out, there were only nine burgers on the list and the Cherry Cricket was left out. That didn’t change the taste of the place though.
The secret of the meat from their burgers is a 80/20 blend of Colorado ground beef and steak. A Longmont, CO meat company is in charge of the establishment’s flavor with its certified angus beef. Many places claim angus is on their menu, but the Cricket Burger is the real deal, 100%! All of the burgers and sandwiches are delivered in plastic red serving baskets that have been quintessential to the Cricket’s presentation. The fries and onion rings are served separately in their own basket that come plain or smothered and covered in chili and cheese. Starting with one of their many appetizers might be a little presumptuous; a burger and fries have never been so big with such a little price!
In 2006, Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels, featured the Cherry Cricket and its menu on the Food Network. Man vs. Food promoted The Cricket last year on the Travel Channel when Adam Richman came to Denver in search of the best burger. A couple of other TV spots that the Cricket is looking forward to is the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate and the Travel Channel’s Food Wars where The Cherry Cricket will go head to head with City Grille to establish on network television who actually holds Denver’s Best Burger.
With two full kitchens, two working bars, two happy hours daily, patios on three sides of the building, four main rooms for dining, including the Tea Room and Norm’s Room, 21 burger toppings to choose from, and over 100 staff, some whom have worked there for nearly 15 years, the Cherry Cricket keeps things lively in Denver and will continue to do so for a long time coming.
The Cherry Cricket
2641 East 2nd Ave.
Denver, CO 80206-7666
Open Daily from 11 am to 2 am
Happy Hour from 4:30 pm to 6 pm and again from 10 pm to Midnight