Exclusive first look: The new Gaetano's reopens on Saturday

And Ruskaup insists that she and the crew wanted to be "respectful of the past," so they identified what she calls the "three untouchables": the bar, the family history and the painted lady, all of which endure.

This isn't to say that nothing has changed: Booths, the hue of chartreuse, have been added; the former private room now flows into one; the once-weathered (and rotting) hardwoods have been replaced with new hickory that still shines a little too much; and chef Chris Cina's menu has retired the Tasty Treats.

Nonetheless, you'll still find meatballs, lasagna, pasta with red sauce, Italian sausage from Clyde's, pasta Carbonara and alfredo and veal Parmigiana, and while it's a pared down menu from the past, Cina deftly succeeded in preserving it roots, while simultaneously giving those wanting pork chops or swordfish, or wild mushroom ravioli (which is splendid, by the way) bobbing in a Parmesan broth fragranced with porcini dust, those options, too. It's a judicious balance between now and then, and for all you -- me included -- worried that he'd turn the menu into a contemporary Italian shit-show, take heart: He didn't.

And the cocktail syllabus has retained its classic charm, too, although even that has been given a shake and a stir. Now, there's a "little black book" independent of the standard list that focuses on what head bartender Kyle West, otherwise known as the "Underground Gin Smuggler," calls "bartender skills." It's a "hush-hush collection," he says, of eight cocktails (and recipes) that's reminiscent of the Prohibition era. "You have to ask for it," he warns, "but we hope that it will organically take hold over time."

The cocktails will change, he says, but you'll always be able to order the Old-Fashioned, which, in a twist, you make yourself. The components, including a glass with block ice and a tube with Jim Beam, are brought to the table on a tray, and your server will offer the recommended measurements, but the final outcome is really up to you. "The correct recipe is whatever the guest wants it to be," stresses West, whose bar repertoire also includes a barrel aging program that's a collaboration of five Colorado producers, as well as a Negroni cocktail that's available on tap.

Gaetano's will reopen this Saturday, following a series of friends and family dinners, and my prediction is that most of you will like what's inside, including the fact that nearly every single seat faces the door, just in case, you know, there's a shootout, in which case, Gaetano's has your back.

Here's an exclusive first look of what you'll see.

Location Info

Gaetano's Restaurant

3760 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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4 comments
NWDen
NWDen

It actually looks very good.  Although I wish they would have kept the Frank Sinatra shrine.  I also wish they would bring back the fat homemade spaghetti noodles (which were gone long before this outfit took over).

 

I hate the sign.  All it makes me think of is My Three Sons (the show, not the similarly named restaurant).  That sign has to go.  Ernie's brought back the old sign, why can't this place?

 

HERE is a question -  Why was Cina such a raging asshole when all of this came out?  He bashed everyone who was unhappy about this, particularly for not patronizing the place enough.  He made no mention of it being the way it is now.  He mainly bitched about how ungrateful everyone was that all of us rotten masses were to blame, so we could all just fuck off.

 

Maybe he should have kept his mouth shut and let the spokesperson quoted in this article do the talking.  There may have been less hostility.

Kitchmer
Kitchmer

I can't wait to see how the renovation turned out.  I just hope it's not a hatchet job... like poor Wazee Supper Club in LoDo.  That "renovation" turned out to be terrible - and it's since become a restaurant I'll never return to.My fingers are crossed for Gaetano's!

bobbypinz
bobbypinz

Thank the Madonna indeed. I too had feared the worst, but I'm thrilled my old haunt is renewed, not remodeled! Thank you BW Holdings and thank you Lori for keeping the faith and the intriguing photos. See you at the bar!

Read_a_Book
Read_a_Book

 @Kitchmer

 Yeah - i agree about the Supper Club.  That has been my watering hole for the last 7 years and they completely ripped the character out of it.  The response I got from the owner was 'who cares about the regulars?' - what a disaster the breck merger has been.

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