Originally published January 29, 2012
Article by William Carbone
240 Milwaukee Street
Pasquini’s started out around the mid 80s as a small pizzeria on South Broadway in Denver, Colorado offering pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salads. Previously a pizza parlor called The Pizza Queen was doing business at the location. When Tony Pasquini’s family started doing business under the family name, there were a few tables in front of the working, exposed kitchen. In the early 90s they expanded and added an upstairs dining room and bar, THE BLUE LUNA ROOM. Instantly hip and Denver-cool, The Blue Luna Room was replete with good-crazy colors, inlaid tables, mis-matching chairs, marginal to fine art-for-sale and, at one time, a small venue for music. The menu was expanded by then, offering creative pizzettas, most-excellent salads and more. The original pizza and pasta remained on the menu. Several other locations were opened between then and now. Visit Pasquini’s website for more information.
Even before a customer has fully settled into one of the chairs or booth-seats, a plate of buttered (pizza dough) bread-sticks is offered with a side of marinara, gratis. This could be a meal in itself with a sprinkling of grated cheese, pepper flakes and the marinara – instant gratification when one is hungry. Pasquini’s has always been and continues to be an excellent pizza and pasta joint.
Practice makes perfect certainly applies to Pasquini’s new location in Cherry Creek. Note the creative, hanging window- space-dividers (top right – below) that help separate the dining area from the bar. The floating effect is achieved with a few eye-let bolts and flat-chain. The red, leather/vinyl booths are cozy and comfortable. Try to score the huge horse-shoe shaped booth (third booth from right) in the main dining area. No reservations…
The restaurant, nicely appointed, has the same-type, creative decorating gems that helped rock the Blue Luna Room, such as the aforementioned room-dividers, hand built back-bar, table-top inlaid (under glass) with beer-bottle caps, mismatching plate-ware and good-crazy colors. There is also a wood-burning pizza oven resembling in-style a Pasquini’s Blue Luna Room dining table inlaid with mosaic tiles.
The menu has also been cranked up a notch or three with appetizers such as: Eggplant Rotoli ($5.95) Breaded eggplant wrapped around fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, baked and drizzled with lemon juice, served with a side of marinara. Yea, it’s as tasty as it sounds! This is food-channel stuff. Also from the App menu: Meatball Sliders ($5.95) Four mini meatball subs topped with marinara, mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto Stuffed Portobello ($5.95) With red onion, garlic, breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano.
At Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 4pm-6pm and 9pm-11pm; Saturday-Sunday 11am-6pm and 9pm-11pm the Sliders and the Eggplant Rotoli can be had for four bucks each. Also Napolitana Pizzas for ten bucks as well as beer, wine and well specials ($2 and $3.) One can get very happy here.
The 100% Organic Flour, Neapolitan Pizzas (thicker than New York style) are well built with copious amounts of cheese: 10″ Pizzeta ($9.95,) 12″ Small ($13.95,) 14″ Medium ($16.95,) 16″ Large ($19.95) and 18″ Extra Large ($22.95) are also available with whole wheat crust for another dollar. Gluten-free pizza is available. The usual suspects of the topping variety are available. Napolitana Style Pizzas: One size crafted from Organic Flour with a classic thin artisan style crust, baked in the 800 degree wood burning oven “Available in house or while you wait only” ($12.95.)
Excellent in quality and size, plain to fancy salads are available – Small or Large $4.95 to $8.95. Sandwiches from the classics (5″ $6.95 – $8″ $8.95) to Gourmet Subs (5″ $6.95 – 8″ $10.95) or Focaccia Sandwiches ($9.95) are available.
Pasta & Specialties: From traditional Italian entrees, such as Homemade Lasagna ($13.95,) Spaghetti or Penne ($9.95,) Chicken or Eggplant Parmesan ($13.95,) to entrees with California Cuisine tags, Walnut Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli ($13.95) there’s something for (almost) every taste. All pasta dinners include garlic bread and organic mixed green salad. Whole wheat spaghetti or penne available for $1.00 extra. Gluten-free available. A long-standing specialty of Pasquini’s, Calzones are available for about ten dollars, including whole wheat Calzones for another buck. Visit Pasquinis website for the complete menus.
Pasquini’s is acquiring a reputation for their deserts, including their Tiramisu ($7.50,) Mud Pie Pyramid – Mocha and Vanilla Bean ice cream covered in Oreo cookie crumbs ($6.95) and more…
With a lively bar-scene, I predict, Pasquini’s is going to be the happening place in nouveau, hoity-toity Cherry Creek come this spring, along with the literal opening of the dining area: garage-type doors open to expose a good portion of the south-side of the restaurant to Denver’s gorgeous spring and summer weather. Huh! Can’t miss with these prices in pricey Cherry Creek.
“The place exudes character, and the food stands up to the atmosphere” according to Denver Post. Fresh pizza dough for kids to play with and the freedom to create their own pizza makes Pasquini’s the “Best Family Friendly Restaurant” according to Rocky Mountain News. Pasquini’s was named 5280 Magazine’s Top of the Town Best Pizza and Best of Westword’s Best Pizza, Best Chocolate Cake, Best Organic Salad, Best Garlic Bread and Best Subs.
Pasquini’s is a TrueItalianTable recommended, authentic Italian restaurant.