By Dionne Roberts
As the Broadmoor Hotel turns 100, it keeps evolving to both stay current and maintain the longest running five-star rating in the hotel industry. The latest upgrade for the Colorado Springs resort is a more casual restaurant concept.
Play at the Broadmoor is an upscale bowling alley that recently changed its menu to focus on fun and interactive entertainment, as it revolves around custom burgers and sharable bar snacks.
“It’s good for (the guests) to experience a nice burger, so that was the idea,” says Rocio Neyra Prado, sous chef at Play at the Broadmoor.
More than 80 percent of the menu is burger-related, with six “Play Favorites” that range from a traditional presentation to the more adventurous Kahuna burger topped with teriyaki spam, grilled pineapple, Swiss, sesame oil and Sriracha mayonnaise. Prado suggests the build-your-own burger and says the kitchen enjoys seeing the different flavor profiles and assembling the innovative and versatile orders. The produce and eggs featured as add-ons are sourced from Arkansas Valley Organic Growers or the personal farm of Sigi Eisenberger, former long-time executive chef at the Broadmoor.
“You can come the whole week and get different items on every single burger and it’s fun,” says Prado, who also serves as sous chef at the neighboring, upscale Italian spot, Ristorante Del Lago. “We have 25 different toppings you can choose and it’ll be a great burger no matter what.”
The hand-pressed, quarter-pound burgers are made from a mixture of chuck, rib meat and top round from the Broadmoor’s own butcher shop that procures proteins from nearby Corner Post Ranch in Black Forest. The burgers cook with a pad of butter, shallots and garlic on a grill and flat top “that gives it a nice finish,” says Prado. Both the beef and the French fries are seasoned with an exclusive, proprietary spice blend from Denver-based shop, Italco Food Products. Prado says nobody else has the secret seasoning, and jokes that she can only divulge that it contains salt and pepper. Play also tops most of their burgers with a special “yum yum” sauce that has a rich, tangy base of ketchup and cognac.
The portion sizes are wildly generous, with appetizers that are built to feed more than a few, a trend we notice inherent at the Broadmoor’s more informal restaurants. Try thick-cut Vidalia onion rings, a mountain of smothered tater tots or sky-high nachos with Pueblo green chilis built on top of an over-sized chili tortilla from Raquelitas Tortillas out of Denver, to catch any fallen ingredients and to wrap up the entirety of the dish. Three different styles of wings, flatbreads or a deviation towards pork belly tacos full of grilled pineapple, cilantro and kimchi give some alternatives to the centralized burger theme. Price points are accessible and match those of most customizable burger bars at $14 to $16.
For guests that can’t stay and play, the burgers are also available to-go, wrapped up to travel hand-held around the Broadmoor. Or find the Play food truck with the same menu around the pool or at the gate of the popular tourist attraction and adjoining property, Seven Falls.
The interior of Play mimics the family-friendly image and resembles an elegantly furnished game room with oversized chairs, leather couches and a sleek fireplace that acts as a divider between the seating area and bowling lanes. In true Broadmoor fashion, the service is exceptional and the meal is enhanced by a full-bar, adult milkshakes and a solid lineup of Colorado draft beers that includes the Prospector’s Pick kolsch, made specifically for the hotel by local, veteran-owned brewery, Red Leg Brewing Company.
The overall experience is welcoming and warm, showcasing the many layers at the Broadmoor and their unrivaled ability to provide stellar food, hospitality and ambiance.
“There are nice places to sit, drink and bowl,” says Prado. “Get a beer, get a burger, watch the games. We want people to come, relax and share.”
Dionne Roberts is the editor of the Rocky Mountain Food Report, rockymountainfoodreport.com