When the Cherry Cricket opened inside the former home of Breck on Blake in April, it was in with the new menu and out with the old.
No surprises there. The 70-year-old Cricket is beloved for a reason and, you know, that’s how restaurants work. But the change dealt a blow to Rob Toftness, who lives next door and deeply, deeply loves the Breck chile.
And so began a campaign to save it. Toftness enlisted another Breck chile lover, they made T-shirts and got busy pushing any Cricket staff they could corner to change the chile.
Since then, the Cricket team has been debating what to do about it. Fearon Perry, the restaurant’s head of marketing, told Denverite it’s been an internal discussion for some time and Toftness’ passion for it “helped light a fire” and push the team toward a taste test.
So from July 9 to 19, both Cherry Cricket locations will put the two chiles up to a vote.
Toftness got the news from a friend inside earlier this week.
“Maybe the squeaky wheel really does get the chile — I’m sure I heard that somewhere,” Toftness said in an email. “I applaud the decision to let their customers experience and choose the correct chile recipe.”
Customers who participate won’t know which chile is which, unless of course they’re already familiar. And Perry says the Cricket chile has its own fans — “decades of fans” — so this could be a heated (sorry) competition.
The People’s Choice winner will be added to the menu full-time for the fall, and stay there if it sells. The runner-up will make appearances as a special.
The 10-day Chile Throwdown aka the Blake Street Showdown aka the Chill Chile Challenge aka #Chile4Prez2020 (I am absolutely not making these up and you should start using them) will culminate in a results party at the Ballpark Cricket from 4 to 6:30 p.m. July 19. Three guest judges, currently including Westword food editor Mark Antonation and Denver7 weather forecaster and anchor Katie LaSalle, will weigh in and announce the People’s Choice winner.
As a fictional paper salesman once said, “It is on like a prawn who yawns at dawn.”