As I pointed out in my earlier post reporting on the CEDIA Expo in Denver recently, this would be the last year the trade show would be held in the Mile High City. And that also means it would be the last time for a long time that I would be able to savor the taste of my most favorite burger in the world - The Cricket burger from Duffy's Cherry Cricket (see map).
I've written about Duffy's Cherry Cricket here and here, and proclaimed it to be the best tasting burger I've ever had here. From my first visit, I have been one of the biggest cheerleaders for the Cherry Cricket and have turned on a lot of people to its existence. And no one has left the place saying, "Aw, he doesn't know what he's talking about."
The past two CEDIA Expos, we hosted a hospitality room after the show ended for the day. Each evening, however, I'd make sure that I'd just snack on some appetizers rather than having food from the buffet line that we provided to our dealers. Then I'd go out to Duffy's for a cheeseburger. And I was like the Pied Piper - at first one or two of my colleagues would come with me. Then it was up to 10 to 12 people showing up after the hospitality room.
This year, we didn't have a hospitality room because we were going to be doing some evening events with one of our national distributors who sells Mordaunt-Short loudspeakers for us. It turned out that one event was going to be open to just a couple of our guys, so the rest of us decided to go to Duffy's for a burger that evening. It was just as good as the previous times we went.
The following day, a few of us were standing around our booth and we were talking to people who were in from England for Cambridge Audio, and some French people in from Focal loudspeakers. We were raving about the burgers at Duffy's Cherry Cricket and it got the attention of the Europeans. The next thing we know, everyone wanted to go to the Cricket for a burger that night.
When we got everyone rounded up, it turned out there would be 20 people in our group. I didn't know if the Cricket took reservations, so I called out there. I talked to the manager, a lady whose name I can't remember, and told her that we had 20 people, including Canadians, French and Brits, who wanted to come to the Cherry Cricket for a burger. I asked if the one back room would be available and she said, "Well, we normally don't take reservations, but we'll set something up when people start to move out of there. We'll get you in."
We took three vehicles out to the Cherry Cricket and I was driving one. I dumped my group off by the door and went to look for a parking spot, which, on a Friday night, is sort of tough in the Cherry Creek area of Denver. I finally found a space and walked a block or so back to the place.
Our group had congregated in the outside patio area. It was a nice night out, probably in the low 60's. But it was too cold for James Johnson-Flint - the CEO of Cambridge Audio - who joined us that evening along with the international sales manager, the director of marketing, the head of engineering and a couple other people in for the show from Cambridge Audio. From Focal, we had Dominic Baker, the international sales manager and chief engineer for the company, along with Rafael Triomphe, the project manager for the new Focal Utopia III loudspeakers, and one of the marketing ladies from Focal.
I went to the bar to talk to the manager and I told her that we were all here and ready to be seated. She said, "Yep, I've got everything under control and we're working to fit some tables together. If we have to fit some people in a booth, is that OK?"
I told her it was fine and dandy. I went back to our group to let them know that we were going to be seated shortly and one of my colleagues, John, told me that everything was under control. I said, "What do you mean?"
He said, "I just gave a gal $200 bucks to get us seated as soon as possible."
I said, "Huh? I just talked to the manager and she said they were working on getting us seated. Who did you give the money to?"
John said, "The lady at the door. When we told her that we were 20, she said, 'Oh, we couldn't possibly get you in for about 90 minutes.' I opened my wallet and gave her $200 bucks and said, 'Think you could get us in sooner, now?' She said she'd see what she could do."
I said, "Oh, John. Geez, I had everything under control with the manager. You didn't need to give that girl $200 bucks."
John felt kind of foolish and said, "Well, I guess the girl at the door got a great tip for doing nothing, it looks like."
It wasn't 20 minutes before we were seated in the back room at the Cherry Cricket. We had 16 people at one table and four in the booth next to the table. It was a huge party with lots of beer and laughter going on.
The problem with the Cherry Cricket is that they have too many different types of toppings to put on a burger. And I was torn as what to get for a burger that evening. Their pepperjack cheese burgers topped with jalapenos is always a favorite for me. But I was wanting to try their mushroom and Swiss cheese burger, as well.
It turns out that the Cherry Cricket has these Little Cricket burgers on their menu. Instead of a half-pound burger, they're quarter pound burgers. Since I wasn't going to get fries or onion rings, I thought, "What the hell? I can just get two different burgers!" So I ordered a Little Cricket burger with hot pepperjack cheese and jalapenos, and one with swiss and mushrooms.
God, I'm glad I got two burgers. The two different burgers were equally great. I loved 'em both. The mushrooms on the swiss burger were so fresh, and the jalapenos on the other burgers had a great bite to them, without detracting from the taste of the burger. They were just killer.
The "Cricket Virgins", of which there were about 9 in the group, including my boss, Daniel, all thought the burgers were excellent. I said, "I'm telling you. I've had burgers all over the place and I don't think there is a better burger any where." They all seemed to agree.
The bill for the 20 people came to about $500 bucks. That was for beer, food, appetizers, sides and other stuff. We had one waitress work the big table and the corner booth. My colleague, John, picked up the tab for the company and he gave her a $200 tip. He said, "Well, I may have gotten screwed on the first $200 bucks I spent in here, but I certainly didn't get screwed on the second $200 bucks. That girl worked her ass off."
A few of us were able to hit Duffy's one more night before we all went home. There's only one trade show annually in Denver for our industry - the Rocky Mountian Audio Festival, a small high-end show. I have yet to attend that one, but I'm sure I will at some point. Cindy has been wanting to go out to Denver for a vacation and we will do that at some point, as well. And I'll guarantee you, I'll be at Duffy's Cherry Cricket at least twice when we do go out. It's simply the best burger I've ever had.