Reader: Denver's red-sauce joints are stuck in the 1960s

Categories: Cafe Society

meatballs at gaetanos.jpg
Mark Manger
Meatballs, pasta and red sauce: classics at Gaetano's.
This week Gretchen Kurtz reviews Gaetano's, a 65-year-old Italian joint in northwest Denver that just had a facelift of both its building and its menu. This is one of the last red-sauce joints left in that neighborhood, where both Pagliacci's and Longo's Subway Tavern shuttered over the past few months.

That got us thinking about what other old-school Italian restaurants are still left in Denver, and many readers weighed in with their favorites.

See also:
- Red alert: Denver's old-school Italian joints are disappearing
- Mob rule: Is a meal at the revamped Gaetano's an offer you can't refuse?
- Photos: Behind the scenes at Gaetano's

But are they really worth saving? Says Scott:

While I understand the nostalgia, as a recent transplant from the northeast, I doubt many of the other transplants tend to patronize these red sauce places that much. Denver's red sauce joints are mostly stuck in the 1960s. Good Italian food in this country is no longer dominated by a slice of lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, and wicker-basket chianti. The new Gaetano's menu looks much more like what good Italian restaurants, at least in the northeast, are serving, with one red sauce option next to a mix of other traditional and modern Italian entrees and pastas.

What's your go-to place for good Italian food in this town?

Location Info

Gaetano's Restaurant

3760 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

Denver still has its share of established red sauce joints - Bova's on North Federal and Romano's in Littleton come to mind.  The restaurants that have closed in North Denver had failed to keep up with the newer competition, and some of them were growing rather grubby.  Living on one's laurels is not a sustainable business plan.  And virtually any menu needs to be revisited at least annually and updated if necessary.


I wish there was more stuck in the 60's!


That reader comment is complete BS.  This Gaetanos is NOT the same place from the 60s, therefore it isn't stuck anywhere.  The new place couldnt hold a candle to gaetano's back in the day.

No one really cares about the opinion of yet another invader, trying to impose your will and way.  Don't like it?  Go hit Bonanno's more upscale and "contemporary" places.  There are LOTS of us that love the sauce joints just they way they are.  And plenty of other transplants who love them as much as us born-and-breds.

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