Concert-goers rejoice — never again will you have to fight off your impending hangover with a stale pretzel and plastic cheese. Come this April, Red Rocks is upping its game with a revamped food program. Among them is Denver’s beloved hot dog guru, Biker Jim’s. According to Aramark, the organization in charge of Red Rocks concessions, the legendary company will serve up its traditional hot dogs made with wild game meat (think alligator and elk). They’ll even have a vegan dog so those more crunchy fans don’t starve.
However, carnivores will still be the focus with the addition of Rolling Smoke. The barbecue joint is bringing its delicious meats to the top of Red Rocks — which is also where you’ll find Biker Jim’s. On their menu expect to find the usual brisket, pulled pork and turkey with all the fixins like mac ‘n’ cheese, baked beans, cole slaw and potato salad. The only items you won’t find are their ribs and sausage — but burnt ends will make an appearance for certain shows.
“They are making some of the best burnt ends I think I’ve ever had in my life,” said Craig Luckmann, Aramark general manager. We can attest to that.
And like most barbecue, they’ll only have what’s on hand so there’s a chance they’ll sell out during busy shows. “That’s the goal in barbecue — to everyday run out,” said Wade Williams, part owner of Rolling Smoke.
In other big news, Red Rocks is teaming up with local restaurateurs for a series of pop-ups. The first to be announced is Frank Bonanno from Bonanno Concepts. The chef is busy this year with the forthcoming Milk Market along with 10+ restaurants across Denver. The pop-ups will be held at Ship Rock Grille inside the amphitheater during shows and will expand to accommodate 300 guests. Dates are still to be decided though, and many yet-to-be-named restaurants will also join Bonanno in the series of pop-ups.
There are still several more changes headed to the amphitheater this season with the addition of a Starbucks — which will be open during the daytime ( as well as during shows) to accommodate tourists. Also, Luckmann said they’ll add more top-shelf spirits including whiskey from Colorado’s own Stranahan’s.
Even with all those updates, your classic fried foods aren’t going anywhere. Next to Biker Jim’s and Rolling Smoke, a mom and pop concession concept called Wylie’s Thin Air Fresh Fare will dish out heaping portions of fresh-cut fries and inventive funnel cakes. Red Rocks are also adding fryers to the lower level concessions stands where they’ll add chicken tenders to the menu. Techincal updates with more hardwired point of sale (POS) systems will also help speed up the process.
As for the local restaurants, this could be temporary with each vendor signing on for a 12-month contract. So if you want the new vendors to stay around, make the extra effort and head to the top.