The End of an Era in Denver When Pagliacci’s Closes

Classic Italian restaurant to close after 66 years of family ownership

Pagliacci’s in Denver has been on my list for nearly 23 years. I’ve passed this restaurant and its hard-to-miss rooftop sign time and again, always intending to try their traditional Italian-American fare. Now it turns out that if I don’t get there in the next few days, it’ll be too late. After 66 years of family ownership, Pagliacci’s is closing on August 19.

On their Facebook page, they posted, ““As you may or may not know, Pagliacci’s has been the only Italian restaurant in Denver that can boast, for 66 years, we are the only Italian restaurant to remain in the original family, in the original location, and operate under the original name.”

Reports are that the building will be demolished and replaced by condominiums and that some members of the family are investigating putting out a line of prepared foods and sauces under the Pagliacci name. The last line in Leoncavallo’s opera is “La Commedia è finita! – “The play is over!” Life imitates art, as Pagliacci’s in Denver will also soon be over.

Pagliacci's on Urbanspoon

Local Tasting at Boulder Creek Winery

Founded in 2003, this boutique winery ‘s dozen labels cover a broad spectrum of wines

Boulder Creek Winery’s dozen wines — among them a number of award-winners –are primarily Old-World-style wines including varietals, blends and fortified wines — all lovingly made in a small-production, family-run boutique winery on the Front Range. It puts out just a very few thousand cases a year, and all have their adherents.

Visitors can get a microcosmic view of the entire wine-making process from delivery of the grapes to bottling, corking and labeling in one, cavernous room –a traditional process that I’ve seen in far larger wineries around the world. The tour is self-guided, but a group of Boulder bloggers got a personal tour and tasting from Mike Thompson. He runs the winery with his wife, Jackie, the founder and still the winemaker, and son, Will. That’s the kind of family value I can understand.

Mike Thompson uses a pipette to extract a small amount of tasting wine from a Boulder Creek Winery oak barrel.

We bellied up to the tasting bar for small pours of the dozen wines from Boulder Creek Winery. Without food, I personally preferred the gentler whites to the aggressive reds — though I really did take a shine to Consensus Reserve, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The name comes from a consensus among their wine club members at a private tasting.

Elegantly bottled Consensus Reserve, a Jefferson Cup gold mdeal winner in its first year of release.

Other Boulder Creek Winery labels bear whimsical names too. Murphy’s Choice, their most popular wine, was named after a springer spaniel, and the British name “claret” on another reserve wine is one of only three clarets in Colorado. Elsewhere, they would be referred to as méritage wines — an interesting wine factoid I learned at Boulder Creek  Winery.

As as group, we were given a personal tour by Mike Thompson, but  otherwise, they are self-guided. This is not bade, because each setep in the process is clearly labeled, and with such a small facility, a Thompson is sure to be close enough to answer questions. A visit is $5 per person, refundable with a minimum two-bottle purchase. Wines range from $15 to $36 per bottle, less with a case discount or club membership. The  winery is located at 6440 Odell Place, Suite B, Boulder, 303-516-9031. This is in a small business park in Gunbarrel (Lookout Road, one short block north on Spine Road, then left).