It was a hot late afternoon — much too hot for chile — when Denver settled its Great Chile Debate.
With windows wide open to the 98-degree air at the Cherry Cricket Ballpark location, chile lovers, food pros and unsuspecting customers gathered for the final hours of a taste test to determine which green chile would get a menu spot at the new restaurant: the Cricket chile or the Breckenridge chile that once called the cavernous space home. A panel of judges had been convened and Rob Toftness and Chris Lombardi, the men behind a relentless campaign to save their beloved Breck chile, sat quietly at the bar in their campaign T-shirts. Reader, the suspense was palpable.
Samples were served, votes were tallied, beers were downed. The Denver Post’s Amy Brothers, Westword’s Mark Antonation and Denver7’s Katie LaSalle all weighed in — their tastes as native Coloradans and food pros all leaning toward mystery Chile A.
And after 10 days of voting — exactly two months since Denverite first brought light to the campaign — we learned that the people agreed. Cherry Cricket Ballpark assistant general manager Trevor Draper, flashy gold envelope in hand delivered the news to a hands-on-table drumroll and, surely, a collective held breath. The old Breck on Blake green chile was the winner, unseating the Cricket chile in its own house.
It’ll stay their through the fall, and if it sells, possibly forever. The Cricket green chile will make appearances as a special.
“I just think it was the correct decision, really,” Toftness said.
“It’s really nice that they have chile back on the menu,” Lombardi dead-panned.
Toftness returned the volley: “They did away with the soup.”
So what’s the next campaign? Unclear. But a reminder of what they accomplished will greet them whenever they return to the Cherry Cricket Ballpark, where their signed T-shirts will hang on the wall.