The Winners of Chicken Fight! 2023

BY Steph Wilson

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When Fried Chicken Ruled the Night: DiningOut’s Recap of Chicken Fight! Fest 2023

If Elitch Gardens were known for thrills, then the night of Chicken Fight! Fest 2023 took those thrills and deep-fried them golden brown. For one night, the familiar hum of roller coasters was accompanied by the joyous sounds of bluegrass, country tunes, and the ecstatic cheers from a crowd indulging in the finest poultry pleasures known to man. Forget the grease-laden carnival food you thought you knew; this was gourmet, top-tier, and straight out of the best kitchens in Denver. Chicken Fight Fest of 2023 didn’t merely take over the theme park; it transformed it into a gourmet fried chicken wonderland of fun. It was Elitches, elevated.

Produced by DiningOut Events—the culinary creatives behind the city’s favorite food festivals, including Top Taco and RARE Steak Championships—Chicken Fight! packed Elitch Gardens with crowds of happy people who were there to eat, drink, and be as merry as can be on the merry-go-rounds and roller coasters. In between getting giddily spun on all the park’s thrill rides: all the bites of fried chicken and chicken wings they could eat paired with all the cocktails they could drink. (Bottomless beers, too.) And if the general festival atmosphere felt like a friendly poultry party, the VIP dessert disco was the cherry meringue on top. 

More than an evening of self-indulgence, Chicken Fight! 2023 was a fiery competition where Denver’s most adept chefs and mixologists battled it out, armed with golden drumsticks and cocktail glasses, hoping to take home the title of the best chicken or cocktails in town. To do so, they had to earn the votes of the people and/or the panel of expert judges——chefs, restaurateurs, and other people whose taste buds are trained to discern the good from the better and the better from the best.
DiningOut Events took over Elitch Gardens for a night of endless food, fun, and entertainment.

Produced by DiningOut Events—the culinary creatives behind the city’s favorite food festivals, including Top Taco and RARE Steak Championships—Chicken Fight! packed Elitch Gardens with crowds of happy people who were there to eat, drink, and be as merry as can be on the merry-go-rounds and roller coasters. In between getting giddily spun on all the park’s thrill rides: all the bites of fried chicken and chicken wings they could eat paired with all the cocktails they could drink. (Bottomless beers, too.) And if the general festival atmosphere felt like a friendly poultry party, the VIP dessert disco was the cherry meringue on top. 

More than an evening of self-indulgence, Chicken Fight! 2023 was a fiery competition where Denver’s most adept chefs and mixologists battled it out, armed with golden drumsticks and cocktail glasses, hoping to take home the title of the best chicken or cocktails in town. To do so, they had to earn the votes of the people and/or the panel of expert judges——chefs, restaurateurs, and other people whose taste buds are trained to discern the good from the better and the better from the best.

These are the spots that seemed to rise above the rest. The champions of Chicken Fight! 2023 are:

The People’s Choice: Chicken Wings

1st Place: Outlaw Wings

2nd Place: Bao Brewhouse

3rd Place: HESHER BBQ & Catering

The Judges’ Choice: Chicken Wings

1st Place: CD’s Wings

2nd Place: GQue BBQ

3rd Place: Seasoned Swine BBQ

The People’s Choice: Fried Chicken

1st Place: Welton Room

2nd Place: The Post Chicken & Beer

3rd Place: Big Stuff Food Truck

The Judges’ Choice: Fried Chicken

1st Place: Welton Room

2nd Place: Jack’s on Pearl

3rd Place: Stone Cellar Bistro

The People’s Choice: Best Cocktail

1st Place: Williams & Graham with Dos Hombres

2nd Place: Toni Tenderonis with Casamigos

3rd Place: Welton Room with Fathouse

The Judges’ Choice: Best Cocktail

1st Place: Tony Tenderonis with Casamigos

2nd Place: Guard & Grace with William Grant & Sons

3rd Place: Cleaver & Co. at Junction Food Hall with Remy Martin

The People’s Choice: VIP Dessert Disco

1st Place: Chez Maggy

2nd Place: Chile Con Quesadilla

3rd Place: We Knead Donut

The Judges’ Choice: VIP Dessert Disco

1st Place: Chez Maggy

2nd Place: Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

3rd Place: Former Saint

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson is a writer, editor, and creative maximalist in Denver. She makes magazines for a living and throws color around the world like confetti for fun.

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