Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Wine and dine at Vail’s Ford Amphitheater
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VIDEO: Vail Daily Off the Hill host Tricia Swenson sits down with Rick Richards and chats about the best burgers in town and a plethora of drink options for people attending concerts at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail.
The next time you’re enjoying a little Mount Veeder cabernet with Mozart at a Bravo concert, viewing a pirouette while sipping on Perrier-Jouët and some delicious crudité at the Dance Festival, or washing down a juicy cheeseburger with a cold IPA from Crazy Mountain Brewery at Hot Summer Nights, realize that a lot of thought has gone into the libations and cuisine that can be found at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. This is due to the hard work of Rick Richards, who has been at the helm since 1987. Rick’s staff is familiar, too. In fact, most of his staff has been with him for a decade or two.
Rick prides himself on their extensive wine list and the fact that you can get a wonderful wine at an affordable price. Mixed drinks, they have them, try their margaritas! Crazy Mountain Brewery has stepped up again this year to be the title sponsor of the Hot Summer Nights concerts, but you can get macro brew standbys like Coors Light as well. Since the Ford Amphitheater can host around 2,500 people, efficiency is key, so Rick has separate lines for “Beer Only” and “Cash Only” (Tip: those new Chip Reader credit cards take longer to process, so grab cash before you go, or you can use the cash machine at the Ford Amp).
Bringing your own picnic is a huge part of the experience at the Ford Amphitheater, but if you don’t have the time or the desire to haul all that with you, Rick also has a variety of fare on the menu. I love the juxtaposition of eating cotton candy while watching a pas de deux from Swan Lake, or popcorn at a Pops concert. Their crudité goes great with the wines and requires no silverware but if you are hungry, their burgers are delicious!