Italian To Die For!

August 20, 2010 at 9:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )


Italian to Die for! That’s the slogan for Gaetano’s restaurant in Northwest Denver.  If you are a fan of the former HBO show The Soprano’s, the Godfather movies, or Al Pacino in Scarface, you’ll love the feel of this local treasure.  Opened by the Smaldone family in 1934, Gaetano’s still serves authentic northern Italian cuisine.  My husband and I had the pleasure of sharing a wine dinner at Gaetano’s with friends/former clients Ron & Deanna Robinson this week.  (See previous post about the fabulous food and wine.) Ron is the General Manager of the Wynkoop Brewery, one of the six restaurants which includes Gaetano’s owned by the Wynkoop family of restaurants; 

Pushing your way through the heavy bullet proof front door into the dark, moody bar/restaurant is like taking a step back in time.  You can just about imagine how the Feds used to photograph everyone who stopped by to see ‘Flip Flop’ Smaldone and his brothers ‘Chauncey’ & ‘Checkers.’  It was said the Smaldone’s were the bosses of a thriving mafia operation.  There was a large gambling operation and if you needed a loan, you could head downstairs to the Smaldone’s office and borrow from one of the brothers.  But if you didn’t pay your debts, rumor has it there was a meat saw down there that was used to TAKE what you owed them.  The story is that your family would be told you moved to Pueblo when in fact the pieces were fed to the hogs on the pig farms in Pueblo so no evidence remained!

It is great fun to surmise what kind of things went on within the walls of this restaurant during the Smaldone crime family’s days.  It is even more fun to enjoy the great food now put out by the current owners, the Wynkoop Family of Restaurants.  They have done a great job of keeping the spirit of Gaetano’s alive. 

Starting Friday night September 10, 2010 you can enjoy Gaetano’s and another legend of the past.  Frank Sinatra impersonator, Derek Evilsizor performs every other Friday night and it is said his show is a “must see.” 

You can bet I will be there sitting with ‘Strangers in the Night‘ hoping there is still a ‘Summer Wind.’  Why don’t you “Come Fly with Me” on September 10th and enjoy Italian to die for at Gaetano’s.


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