Madison Heller | Clarion

In November, the Cherry Creek neighborhood lost one of its favorite restaurants, the staple Cherry Cricket. The night before Thanksgiving, the old building caught fire in the midst of its dinner rush in a way that they didn’t even notice until the fire had reached the roof. This, unfortunately, led to its closure.

But the story has a happy ending; after fixing the damage and remodeling the old bathrooms and tile floors, the Cherry Cricket re-opened earlier this month. Naturally, the Clarion had to dive right in and test if the place still held its usual charm.

Madison Heller | Clarion

Unsurprisingly, it did. The restaurant held its old charm through and through, and one wouldn’t suspect they were new on the block again. Still holding its same rustic sports bar vibe, the Cherry Cricket luckily did not lose its ceiling hockey rink, which is signed by iconic athletes such as two-time Super Bowl Champion John Elway.

Business also seemed virtually unaffected by the recent closure, as the burger joint was clearly not forgotten in its five months of closure. The Friday lunch rush had the place packed with people, all chattering about the past week and their weekend agendas, making the setting a little on the louder side. Despite the packed dining area, the service was quick and the waitress was very personable in doling out her menu suggestions.

After snagging a table beside the bar and underneath the aforementioned hockey rink ceiling, the menu was perused for some tasty appetizers. The fried mac n’ cheese bites ($6.50) were quickly decided upon, and this reviewer highly recommends dipping them in the ranch they come for some added flavor to the dish.

The waitress suggested a build-your-own burger, as the specialty of the Cherry Cricket is the customization of one’s own burger. The waitress recommended cream cheese on the cricket burger, with jam and jalapenos on the side to add on, as well. According to her, “Once you go cream cheese, you’ll never go back.”

If you are one for spice, take the waitress’s recommendation and try the jalapenos. This reviewer prefers food of a milder palate due to past experience with a hot chili pepper and decided on the quarter pound Little Cricket Burger ($6.50) with provolone cheese ($1.00), a fried egg ($0.75) and raspberry jam ($1.00) as the toppings. Be warned: burgers do not come with fries at the Cherry Cricket, but splurging on a basket for the table is a worthwhile investment ($4.00).

Usually, this reviewer is not one to branch outside the box. I prefer more traditional burgers, with the simple lettuce-and-avocado combination, but I threw caution to the wind to funkify the burger. Admittedly a little skeptical but willing to try, the fried egg and jam burger exceeded all expectations. Layering on a thick layer of jam is a must, as it is a sweet and slightly chilled complement to the warm beef.

Another fair warning, the fried egg can burst at any given moment, so be prepared for the flood. This reviewer was not, but it was not an issue that affected the taste in anyway. The yolk splattered all over, meaning the burger was eaten in record speed: under three minutes to completion.

This reviewer also recommends ordering an ice cold glass of Coca-Cola to wash down the delectable sweetness of the jam burger. A few fries to polish off the tank will set you straight for a content, full stomach.

Madison Heller | Clarion

The Cherry Cricket is a casual, tasty burger joint in the heart of Cherry Creek. If you haven’t been before, it is a must-dine for the neighborhood and is not an outing to be regretted. I suggest venturing out of your comfort zone with burger toppings, even asking a server for a recommendation. If you have been, you know it is an experience worth repeating.

4/5 stars

Suggestions: Cricket Burger with customized toppings (jam, fried egg), fried mac n’ cheese, Coca-Cola

Location: 2461 E 2nd Avenue, Denver

Hours: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. everyday