Lechuga’s Italian Restaurant & Lounge
3609 Tejon St
Denver, CO 80238
This place is not for the faint-hearted. First and foremost, Lechuga’s aien’t no HOITY-TOITY joint. Especially not the lounge area, where there is definately a serious bar scene. If you can handle that, read on…
Lechuga’s Italian Restaurant & Lounge (formerly Carbone’s Pizza – Est. 1961) owns a considerable chunk of *Denver’s Little Italy’s history. The restaurant is in an area that used to be Denver’s Little Italy. The area was Denver’s Little Italy up to the 80s. (Numbers of Italian-Americans were moving out by this time and many Spanish speaking folks were settling into the [**Highland] district.)
Known for it’s thin-crust, square pizza, spaghetti and canolis, Denver-style, Carbone’s was one of the neighborhood anchors for the Italian-Americans of North Denver. The current owners wisely kept Carbone’s menu and recipes alive over the years. Now the restaurant is a multi-ethnic anchor for: Hispanics, Italians, Anglos, Greys etc…etc…etc…My understanding is that the current owners represent two ethnicities.
The restaurant has two dining areas. The main dining room, on the north side of the resturant, is where families and non-bar-type-folks dine. It is starkly lit and somewhat basic – fine for family dining. Then there’s the Lounge, which is dimly lit and frilled, with: neon, celebrity photos, wrought iron latice, sports memorabilia and TVs. There are booths and tables at the (sunken) bar level. Up a half-level, there is a-kind-of-stadium-seating area with three arched booths (WHERE YOU WANT TO SIT) on one wall, and tables around the perimeter overlooking the bar area – with it’s dance floor, the smallish L-shaped bar, and the Pièce de résistance: a photo-collage of King Frank above the bar – watching over the place like a crucifix behind the alter in a church (see photo below.)
On the menu
Dinner Spaghetti, includes salad with choice of dressing, garlic bread, one sausage and one meatball ($6.25.)
Old Fashioned Thick Noodles are available, add $1.25.
Manicotti, includes salad and garlic bread ($6.25.)
Ravioli, includes dinner salad and garlic bread ($6.25.)
Lasagna, includes dinner salad and garlic bread $6.25.)
Original, Thick, Square Pizza, One Size Only:
Additional toppings…$1.00 ea
Additional half-toppings…$.50 ea
Specialty Pizzas…$13.95 to $16.95
Canolis, Denver Style…$1.45 to $5.25
***Buckets Of Pasta (Take out only)
***Served with salad, choice of dressing and garlic bread
Old Fashioned Thick Noodles
6 servings…add $3.50
3 servings…add $2.50
Sandwiches Salads, Soups, Sides, Beverages, Take Outs, and Pizza Dough / Pasta Sauce to go…
BEST SPAGHETTI DINNER VALUE IN DENVER: Lechuga’s Tuesday Night Spaghetti Dinner,
includes [a]old-school pasta w/Marinara sauce, garlic bread (2 pieces,) salad, and choice of meatball or sausage – WHAM BAM…$3.99.
Old Fashioned Thick Noodles are available…add $1.25
. Tuesdays – 5pm to 9pm
. Dine In Only
Have a glass of Lechuga’s House wine with dinner…$2.75 ($2.00 during Happy Hour.)
After dinner, head south on Tejon, a half-dozen or so blocks until you dead end at a three story milk can. That’s Little Man Ice Cream. Little Man Ice Cream is a brilliantly housed Ice Cream Shop. The perfectly scaled building is built to look like an old-fashioned milk can.
See a photo and read about Little Man Ice Cream on our blog post #96
[a]Lechuga’s Spaghetti is real, old-school. You’ll recognize the flavor if you “go back” to the 50s & 60s, especially in Denver. The spaghetti noodles (thin and thick) are always cooked “right,” just-a-bit al dente. The Marinara sauce is robust, and the meatballs / sausage are bona fide, authentic. My only complaint is the complaint one can raise in most restaurants, the pasta is never sufficiently drained before plating.
This is a camera photo of Lechuga’s bar, shot from the “stadium-seating” area. That “shrine” behind the bar is a photo collage of King Frank.
OGs mostly occupy the stools on the south (left in the photo) side of the bar.
*In the beginning, the Italian immigrants lived in tent shanty’s along the banks of the Plate river, in the so called “bottoms.” When these new Americans began to prosper and stake their “American Dream” claims, they moved on up to the **Highland District of Northwest Denver. **The Highland District is bounded roughly by Zuni Street on the East, West 38th Avenue on the North, Federal Boulevard on the West and West 32nd Avenue on the South. This was the nucleus of Denver’s Little Italy. Technically Lechuga’s is a few blocks beyond these parameters.
Thomas J. Noel – DenverGov.org
Read a bunch of reviews on Lechuga’s at Yelp.com
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