Tag Archives: Pizza

The Edgewater Inn: Last of the Continuously-Operated/Owned by the Same Family Italian Restaurants in The (Near What Used to be Denver’s Little Italy) Hood

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[Some links have been removed or changed since The Edgewater’s website was changed – 2014]
Update 2014 – The Edge is now serving excellent, Sweet Potato Fries.

The Edgewater Inn
5302 W 25th Ave
Edgewater, CO 80214
(303) 237-3524

The Edgewater Inn
The Edgewater Inn

Every so often I have a need to drive across town to the soothing neighborhood of Edgewater across from *Sloan’s Lake. The lake was dredged some time back, and surrounded by (cleaned-up) verdant Sloan’s Lake Park, it’s a beautiful spot. The view across the lake, from Sheridan to the east, is one of the best views of Denver’s skyline. Most nights the reflections of downtown building lights paint the water – even though the lake is miles from downtown Denver. I know there’s an explanation for that phenomenon, something about bending light waves. Whatever the science, she’s drop-dead gorgeous.

Sloans's Lake at Edgewater, photo by radare
Sloans's Lake at Edgewater, photo by radare

When one first enters the City of Edgewater, the instant vibe is Mayberryesque, however, it’s changing fast.

At the extreme north-west end of the lake, at 25th Ave & Sheridan Boulevard, through the overhead sign (Edgewater) declaring its boundary, down a block and on the left, you’ll find a fairly plain building with green awnings and a HOWDY PAISANO sign on the east wall. This is The Edgewater Inn.

[Update 2014 – The Edgewater’s website has been changed, the following paragraph is from the old website. A link to the new website follows.]
“The Edgewater Inn is a small pizza tavern in the heart of Edgewater, and for many years been one of the highlights of the town. The Inn, most famous for its pizzas and family atmosphere, has graced the neighborhood for over fifty years. The owners, Ben and Josephine DiPietro started the business back in 1953. The Inn, now located on the southwest corner of 25th Avenue and Ames was initially located at the building due west of it’s present address. In 1957, the building next door went up for sale. The buildings previous occupant, the post office, moved into a newer quarters. Ben and Josephine purchased the lease and began their work. They realized they wanted to turn their 3.2 bar into a regular bar. To accomplish this task, many hours of hard work were required. Ben and Josephine had to petition everyone in the neighborhood, meaning they had to go to every household to ask the residents if they were or were no[sic] in favor of a bar going into the community. This amounted to a total of 96 blocks, this was no easy task. They did however succeed in getting enough signatures and community support to acquire a license.”

The Edge’s Official NEW Website

Interview with Brandon Bucci, general manager [A paragraph (here) was removed, it was part of the old website.]

The main dining area of The Edgewater Inn
The main dining area of The Edgewater Inn

Close, but never quite in the heart of Denver’s Little Italy, The Edgewater was a bit too far west. The Bonnie Brae Tavern (DU area), Romano’s in Littleton and several others around Denver are good restaurants, just not in the epicenter of Denver’s Little Italy, which pretty much hugged the area bounded by 32nd Avenue to 46th Avenue and Broadway to Zuni streets. There were a half-dozen-plus red-sauce places within a mere 2-mile stretch along 38th Avenue, and down connecting side streets of the Little Italy area, many within just a few blocks of each other. Longo’s Subway Tavern (shuttered in 2012,) Gaetano’s (new corporate owner) and Carl’s Pizza (new owners) were on 38th Avenue. R. Carbone’s Pizza (now Lechuga’s – For Sale in 2014) and The Alpine Inn (John “Skip” LaGuardia’s tavern – long closed) shared Tejon Street with Gaetano’s. Patsy’s Inn is still on 35th and Navajo (family-member of the founder is the current owner, however, there have been non-family owners.) Little Pepina’s was at 34th and Osage St (the building stands – soon to be an Asian restaurant,) Pagliacci’s was at 33rd and Osage (raised last year.) Three Sons was located at 44th and Federal ( 3-sons moved to Arvada,) Ernie’s Pizza Bar was at 44th and Elliot (new corporate owners,) and Carbone’s Sausage Market and Deli (closed) was catty-corner to the Subway, across 38th. I’m getting dizzytized.

Perhaps by default, The Edgewater has worked it’s way up the list and is the last of it’s kind left standing. To the folks from the neighborhood, The Edge is an institution. The Edgewater Inn, The Subway Tavern and The Bonnie Brae Tavern were the three premiere Denver pizza joints for years – before NY Pizza came to town. In fact, Longo’s Subway Tavern boasted about installing the first pizza oven in Denver. Ernie’s Pizza Bar was in a quieter neighborhood.

I’ve been going to The Edgewater for years – mostly for an 18 oz.? goblet of beer. The original owner Ben DiPietro usually had a long cigar protruding from the corner of his mouth.

The late Ben Dipietro, sans cigar
The late Ben Dipietro, sans cigar

Recently, I had a decent house salad. The spaghetti is acceptable (other pastas on the menu,) a bargain for about $7.50 including salad and bread. The pizza and calzones (canolis) are unmistakably Colorado style – sort of a hard, crunchy crust. The calzone I had was different. I’m a NY Pizza fan, so… Also on the menu: appetizers, including fried-ravioli, wings and more, salads, and classic meatball and sausage sandwiches served with marinara.

OK, the food is Edgewater/Denver style. It’s not California cuisine or NY fine-dining, so get over it – this is bar food.  The Edgewater is still a good watering hole, reminiscent of a coastal bar. Well, it is sort of on the coast, the coast of Sloan’s Lake. There seems to be a new “feel” to the restaurant. Next time I’ll order something else to see if the food has been elevated.

In naming more of the good qualities of this restaurant, one would have to mention the cleanliness, the clever U-shaped bar, the copper Moscow Mule mugs hanging like relics from bar racks (The Edge offers premium Vodka Mules), and gracious, friendly and attractive waitresses. These women have perfected the art of public relations.

The restaurant/bar is one, in other words the restaurant tables surround the perimeter of the U-shaped bar. The exception being the new covered patio addition, which is a bit different. The main dining/bar area has a number of very cozy booths nestled up against quality, rich woods. The only thing I’d change is the worn, grey veneer of the lower bar. Wood matching the window trim would complete the interior.

From the Neighborhood Gazette
“As the reputation of the Edgewater Inn grew, it was rumored that high ranking Denver police officials would usher celebrities like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra into the Inn after hours. Frank was said to have proclaimed that the Edgewater Inn had the best pizza in Denver.” Read more…

I’m all for supporting this Edgewater/Denver institution.

Happy Hour specials! Customers can park across the street in The Edgewater’s lot.

*Doing research years ago I ran into some documents suggesting that the lake and park were simply called Sloan Lake and Sloan Lake Park, rather than Sloan’s.

The Edgewater Inn is a TrueItalianTable recomended authentic Italian restaurant.

Best Spaghetti Dinner Value In Denver: Tuesday Night Spaghetti Dinner at Lechuga’s Italian Restaurant & Lounge

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Lechuga’s Italian Restaurant & Lounge
3609 Tejon St
Denver, CO 80238
(303) 455-1502

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 Entrees:
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:
Cheese Pizza…$9.95
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)
6 Servings…$15.95
3 Servings…$14.95
***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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