Pastry queen Yasmin Lozada-Hissom has plans to make Spuntino even sweeter

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Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, the pastry chef of Duo and Olivea, where her husband, John Broening, is also the executive chef, was a regular at Spuntino, an Italian cafe in Highland, owned, in part, by Simone Parisi, who also runs a namesake pizzeria and deli, as well as its downstairs restaurant, Firenze a Tavola. And several months ago, when Parisi made the decision to give up his ownership in Spuntino, leaving the cafe to his business partner, Dorina Miller, Lozada-Hissom and Miller began to toy with the idea of forming their own partnership.

"John and I were going to Spuntino quite a bit and thought it was lovely, and when Simone left to devote more time to Parisi and Firenze a Tavola, Dorina and I started talking about the possibility of my coming on as a partner," says Lozada-Hissom, who, in case you missed it, is a 2012 James Beard semi-finalist in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category.

She took some time to think about it, heading off to Venezuela to visit family, and when she returned, in December, she'd made her decision. "I had a lot of time to reflect while I was there," she says, "and I decided that it was the right decision -- that I wanted to be a part of something special in a great neighborhood."

But the original concept, she admits, was confusing. "I think a lot of people in the neighborhood just thought it was the Red Trolley -- the ice cream place that used to be there -- with a different name, and so, at the very least, we needed to clarify that it was much more than that," Lozada-Hissom says. And then, she adds, "It evolved into a much bigger, more ambitious project."

"We thought about keeping the concept more or less the same, but clarifying it so that people knew it wasn't just about popsicles and gelato," she explains, "but as we began to talk, we realized that we wanted to do more than that, so we started thinking about what other things we could offer the neighborhood, which is full of great restaurants and people who love food."

So while Lozada-Hissom and Miller will continue to trumpet the treats that made Spuntino popular with the 'hood, the plan is to bolster the menu with the help of Broening and a top-notch sous chef, as well as showcase as many Colorado products as possible. "John will be collaborating on the menu, cooking occasionally and supervising the kitchen staff, and along with salads, Italian sandwiches and housemade pastries, we're going to feature locally-roasted coffee from Boxcar in Boulder, wines from Infinite Monkey Theorem and as many locally-sourced ingredients as we can, including vegetables and greens from Granata Farms," Lozada-Hissom tells me. And, she notes, "We'll do our own sorbets an continue to extend and evolve the line of popsicles, because they're amazing."

In addition, the cafe will feature "small bites" -- charcuterie; artisan cheese; and bruschetta topped with white anchovies, shrimp and avocado, or homemade ricotta and fresh fava beans -- as well as her legendary desserts. "I'll continue to do all the desserts and pastries at Duo and Olivea -- that's not going to change. The desserts I'm doing here -- things like tarts and an orange olive oil cake with fennel -- will be unique to Spuntino, and they're very simple and rustic," she explains.

"I'd really like for Spuntino to be the kind of place where the neighborhood can come in and have a good little dessert, a great glass or wine or cup of coffee and some lovely small bites -- all in the same place," Lozada-Hissom says.

You can be one of the first to partake when Spuntino reopens on March 20.

Location Info

Spuntino

2639 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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7 comments
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MEME
MEME

um, can these two please get an updated photo for the press. this was taken like 15 years ago.

Mo Smith
Mo Smith

Please tell me they plan to keep the chocolate sea-salt caramel ice cream which originated with Red Trolley and they continued to sell as Spuntino.

tanya
tanya

Great news!  PLEASE, Por favor, s'il vous plait - keep the wonderful Piadine Alpina - my all-tine favorite lunch.

Katmandooo
Katmandooo

Don't ruin this great concept with Infinite Monkey Theorem wines.  If you want great Colorado wines (not wines blended with California bulk juice) have a go maybe with Ruby Trust wines. Otherwise sounds great.  Good Luck!

Ben
Ben

FYI The Infinite Monkey Theorem makes 13 wines only one The Blind watchmaker has 60% Syrah sourced from two highly respectable wineries ( St Supery in Napa and Wattle Creek in the Alexander Valley). Only 2 others have fruit sourced from CA, the Albarino and the Verdelho. This fruit is hand harvested into 1/2 ton bins loaded into a Reifer trailer at 42f and arrives in Denver 22 hours after harvest for processing. The other 10 varieties are sourced from 5 vineyards in Palisade, CO, vineyards I personally have a hand in managing. Get your facts straight! Ruby trust does make some pretty good wines I agree.

pat
pat

Great plans! I live about 3 blocks away and was always confused about Spundito, although I loved it the few times I went in.

One suggestion - this neighborhood is seriously lacking in take out options, so consider having some of the dishes available to go. Or even better, perhaps have some meals prepared that people can heat up at home.

Cant wait to try the new space!

Aceranchero
Aceranchero

This is wonderful news! Ace and Mrs. Ace have been forlorn since the windows were covered. Even Grandma Ace had come to love the place after recently relocating to St. Elizabeth's just a block away. 

Everything about the assessment, perception and future direction appears to be spot-on and strategic in terms of separating Spuntino from nearby burgers, frozen yogurt and tacos. And it's especially good news regarding the wine upgrade. The former featured supplier was simply undrinkable. 

I've been searching for a suitable successor to my beloved Rose Cafe in Venice Beach for years. This may be the place. 

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