Forget the peanuts and Cracker Jack! Buy me some empanadas and pork belly buns before the big game.
by John Lehndorff
Being a Colorado Rockies fan can be very stressful, so it’s important to have the right snack and beverage on hand when it’s the bottom of the ninth with two outs at Coors Field.
Instead of a hot dog, how about a piece of karaage, crisply fried Japanese-style dark meat chicken nuggets, dipped into spicy mayo and washed down with a fruity Colorado hard cider?
Those items aren’t on the menu at Coors Field for the 2023 MLB season, but are available about 500 yards away at McGregor Square’s Milepost Zero food hall. Instead of the center field bleachers, fans here stretch out on the grassy hill in the outdoor plaza to become engrossed in the game showing on a major league 66-by-20-foot LED screen above the plaza. You’re so close you can hear the Coors Field crowd cheering for home runs.
The Rockies-owned McGregor Square complex includes a Tattered Cover Book Store, the Rally Hotel and a well-stocked Rockies shop. But for fans and visitors alike, the main attraction may be the lineup of pre and post-game dining and sipping options which all face out into the plaza.
When the Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees are in town, arrive early if you want a chair or blanket space. When it isn’t showing a Rockies game, the big screen displays golf tournaments and soccer matches.
McGregor Square’s food hall is a spiffy, modern option with food and beverage stations and comfy tables and couches grouped throughout the space.
The culinary choices include Italian classics at Colorado’s own Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta and sandwiches at Chicago’s Original Italian Beef Stand.
Crescent Moon Empanadas offers exceptional handheld pies with flaky dough baked around various fillings. On the savory side, it’s easy to recommend the birria empanada stuffed with shredded meat, along with the chicken tinga and chorizo with potato versions. They arrive warm with a mild red salsa.
From sashimi to steaming bowls of pho noodle soup, the menu at Tora Sushi + Ramen covers the whole range of Japanese and Asian favorites. Besides the addictive fried chicken (noted above), don’t miss the pork belly buns with black bean sauce and build- your-own poke bowls.
The focus at TaCo is on Mexican handhelds including steak burritos and traditional street tacos: two griddled soft corn tortillas topped with highly spicy fillings like steak, pork and marinated roasted cauliflower. Nachos also appear on the menu along with machetes – street corn and cheese quesadillas.
Besides a full-service bar for beverages, you can grab an RFID card to serve yourself at the food hall’s long row of taps well-stocked with Coors products as well as craft brews, wine, cocktails and local ciders.
TOM’S WATCH BAR
This two-story sports bar with great views and more than 100 TV screens is built around fun and socializing. The eatery’s Topgolf Swing Suites features a variety of virtual games including a golf target game and a baseball pitching simulation.
The Tom’s Watch Bar menu focuses on shareable plates—wings, burgers, tacos and crisply fried dill pickles— that go well with adult beverages.
Bestsellers include a prime rib French dip sandwich with Havarti and horseradish cream, and mac and cheese with butter-poached lobster and shrimp.
The bar’s must-visit AC Golden Tank Room pours Colorado Native brews directly from the copper tanks.
CARMINE’S ON MCGREGOR SQUARE
A family favorite for dinner since 1994 on Pennsylvania Street, Carmine’s upscale downtown location dishes the familiar family-style Italian entrees and pasta dishes in two sizes that can be shared by two or by a larger group.
Classic starters range from hot spinach artichoke dip with crostini to Caesar salad. Everyone can find dinner on a roster of Italian-American classics including ravioli, gnocchi, risotto, polenta, eggplant parmesan, chicken and veal preparations and pasta variations from Bolognese to carbonara.
THE RALLY BAR
If you prefer a less rambunctious environment to sip a cocktail before heading to the ballpark, settle in at The Rally Hotel’s first floor bar pouring cocktails like the Rally Up—that’s Family Jones vodka, St. Germain, butterfly pea tea, lemon and grapefruit.
Open at 7 a.m. daily, this upscale dinerstarts the day with donut sliders, pancakes, omelets and avocado eggs Benedict. Lunch choice range from chicken fried steak and a pastrami Reuben sandwich to a shaved Brussels sprouts salad with candied walnuts. Americana comfort fare here means you can indulge in deviled eggs, poutine, root beer floats, and duck-fat matzo ball soup.
Mexican brick, hammered copper and a vaulted stainless steel ceiling lend Caldéro an elevated feel. The Brinkerhoffs, the folks behind Denver’s beloved La Loma, opened the eatery in March with a menu that includes Spanish and Latin American dishes as well as Mexican must-haves like tacos and green chile. One early favorite is the dessert malasadas. These are warm, cinnamon sugar-dusted doughnut holes with vanilla dipping sauce.
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