Exclusive first peek: Gozo will open on South Broadway...soon
All photos by Lori Midson.
Back in June, when I first reported that chef-restaurateur Dylan Moore was closing Deluxe and Juanita's, the two adjoining spaces he owned on South Broadway, I also revealed that both restaurants had been snatched up by Frank Jolley, a longtime restaurateur and nightclub owner who had most recently spent the last few years in Napa Valley. When I interviewed Jolley in early June, his hope was that he'd open Gozo, the restaurant that now occupies both of Moore's former spaces, by August of last year, but permitting issues and inspections significantly slowed down his progress. But finally, after months of impatience, Gozo, named for the idyllic island in the Mediterranean Sea, is nearing completion, and once Jolley gets the city to sign off on his liquor license -- he's hoping that'll happen within the next week -- Gozo will be the newest eatery to join South Broadway's restaurant row.
Jolley, who's originally from Washington D.C., and whose impressive background includes stints with Gary Kunz, celebrated French chefs Michel Richard and Jean-Louis Palladin and James Beard finalist Spike Gjerde, moved to Denver last year, along with his business partner Dominic Valenti and chef Nick Petrilli, a New York native, whose own illustrious resume ballyhoos a litany of accomplishments: He was the chef at St. Helena's Tra Vigna, where he worked with star chef Michael Chiarello -- and appeared on ten seasons of Food Network's Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, both as a chef and a food stylist; he was the opening sous chef of Bottega Ristorante, another Chiarello restaurant in Yountville that also employed Jolley, who was the director of operations; a food stylist and chef on Fine Living's Pairings with Andrea Immer, a world-renowned wine expert; and he was the chef of Rustic, winemaker-filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola's restaurant in Geyserville.
And together, he, Jolley, their partner Dominic Valenti, a former manager of Hapa Sushi, and wine director Jenny Brost, who has her level three advanced wine degree, are opening what Jolley calls the "marriage of an Italian wine bar and Spanish tapas." It's "rustic, honest and simple, and indicative of the way we eat in Napa and certainly in the wine countries of Spain and Italy, adds Jolley.
Most of the dishes on Petrilli's menu, which is still being tweaked, will benefit from the smoke imparted from the white-tiled wood-fired oven that's the focal point of the open kitchen, which also boasts a four-seat chef's counter. "Think ragus, braises, slow-cooked meats, charred vegetables and a commitment to extracting the most -- and best -- flavor from every ingredient," says Petrilli, adding that he favors simplicity: "Olive oil, salt, pepper and a flame -- that's all you need," he insists.
The oven, which registers 850 degrees and smolders with white oak, will also produce pizzas, the dough of which is made with finely ground Caputo 00 flour. "We're calling this pizza 3.0," says Jolley. "Neapolitan pizzas were popular a while ago, but we're evolving from that insomuch that we're exploring different toppings that we'll put on a Neapolitan base -- toppings like leeks, oxtail, squash blossoms, potatoes, clams and just about anything we can char," he explains. He notes, too, that the kitchen will utilize "new-world grains," which, he says, are popular in European kitchens. "All the chefs in Italy, Spain and France are using them, and they'll be a part of what we're doing here, too."