The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
Let’s skip the part where we talk about the Broncos’ so-so start to the 2022–23 season and abruptly change the subject to the food stalls at Empower Field at Mile High. So, how ’bout those juicy Cherry Cricket burgers? And have you gotten your hands on one of those hot honey chicken sammies?
Empower Field’s food and beverage roster got a tasty shake up in 2019, when Aramark Sports and Entertainment replaced Centerplate as the stadium’s concessionaire. As a result, you’ll recognize some concepts from the Denver dining scene like chef/restaurateur Frank Bonnano’s Osteria Marco, which is slinging pizzas in the Downtown Mile High food hall. The Italian eatery joins the Cherry Cricket, Wild Taco, and Breckenridge Distillery at the food court, where fans can order from touch-screen menus and chow down in a sit-down dining area on the lower concourse level.
That's only $1 per issue!
Thirsty? A robot might serve you a cocktail: Empower now has three TendedBar stands, self-serve, mixed drink machines that use facial recognition when processing drink orders. (There is a staff member on hand to make sure you’re not being overserved, though.)
Looking for winning options for game-day grub? The Broncos are back at home on Sunday, October 23, squaring off against the New York Jets at 2:05 p.m.. If you scored tickets to the game or any others this season, here are our top picks for what to eat and drink inside Empower.
Tacos and a Frozen Marg from Wild Taco
On a recognizance mission to find Denver’s top taco, Aramark’s Brian Tuscano visited 15 restaurants in the city before inviting Wild Taco in Cap Hill to open up a second location at the mini food hall inside the stadium. The spot dishes out two tacos: chicken tinga or pork carnitas. Be sure to add chips and salsa and a white strawberry frozen marg. (Section 127)
Cherry Cricket Burger
We asked stadium employees for their recommendations for the best bite at Empower, and almost unanimously they pointed us to Cherry Cricket, where bacon cheeseburgers smothered in melty white cheddar and dripping with bacon-onion jam await. You can also get the eponymous Cricket burger as well as a specialty sandwich made with barbecued pulled pork, ancho apricot barbecue sauce, and coleslaw. Pair it with fries, onion rings, or the diplomatic combo of both, which appears on the menu as “frings.” (Section 127)
Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich
We credit Nashville for the hot chicken sandwich. But how do you give the fiery foul a Colorado spin? The answer: Douse it in a hot sauce made with homegrown peaches and spicy habaneros. The sandwich isn’t kick-you-in-the pants hot, but the crispy chicken does have a nice bite plus a generous heap of slaw and some pickles that cools things down. (Sections 303 and 342)
Stadium chefs drew some culinary inspiration from Philly to craft the Denver Cheesesteak. The Mile High riff on the meat and cheese hoagie sandwich is filled with shaved sirloin, topped with 505 Southwestern roasted green chiles, and slathered with chile con queso. (Sections 106, 131, 513, and 529)
Every stadium needs a cocktail that’s concocted with mixers that match the team’s colors. The Broncos have Orange Thunder, which is made with Deep Eddy orange vodka, orange juice, and Triple Sec (an orange liqueur often used in margs) then capped off with lemon-lime soda. It’s fizzy, citrusy, and spirited. (Plaza Level Concourse)
505 Southwestern Monster Chicken Nachos
Not only is it the fall football season, it’s also green chile season. Celebrate both with loaded nachos buried under flame-roasted green chile, salsa, cheese, chicken, and other fixings. For convenience, you’ll find lots of nacho stops throughout the stadium. (Sections 103, 110, 116, 128, 231, 303, 342, 503, 207, 511, 526, 531, 535, and 539).
Plant-Based Burgers and ‘Meatball’ Subs from Ozo
Those looking for vegetarian fare have more options than plant-based burgers. Empower has partnered with Boulder-based Planterra Foods to bring the Ozo brand to the stadium. Fans can order the meatball sub, which comes with hearty rounds made with pea protein, marinara sauce, melted cheeses, and fresh basil pesto. (Sections 100, 107, 110, 130, 303, 314, 332, 342, 504, 512, 525, 530, and 538).