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May 30, 2007 08:55 PM

Denver cheap ,and tasty Italian

10+ years ago when i lived in Denver ,and had even less money than i do now I used to frequent La Chuga's , and another place that's name escapes me ,out on north Wadsworth....I remember it was brightly colored,(tacky) and had decent Italian ,at a reasonable price, oh ,and Dino's on Colfax....are these places still in business?, I am planning a trip to Denver and would like to go back to these places, thank you.

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  1. I sure don't see them in the phone book, and I've never heard of them, which doesn't mean much. I would suggest E-mail Warren Byrne who has hosted "The Restaurant Show" forever. It's currently on KEZW, but I don't know where it was previously. His E-addres is He might answer on the air, but if you're not w/in the Denver listening area, you can ask him to respond by e-mail.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ClaireWalter

      I have never heard of them either. But also does not mean much. There are still several cheap/inexpensive old style Italian places in West Denver/Wheatridge area like Gaetanos, Patsy's, Valentes, and Three Sons that have been around for years which might be similiar to what you are looking for.

      In this weeks Westword Jason Sheehan reviewed Gennaros Lounge on South Broadway which has been serving Italian in Denver since 1951. Not the same as visiting old favorites though.

      1. re: ColoradoFun

        I tried Gennaros a few years ago and was completely dissappointed. Had simple spaghetti and meatballs for lunch. Watery, plain sauce in a (then) smoky atmosphere. I am willing try again, as it is close to work. I don't always put alot of faith in Jasons reviews.

        1. re: rlm

          I agree we all have different tastes and preferences. I wasn't trying to attack Jason Sheehan's credibility. He has certainly introduced me to some great new restaurants, including Sushi Sasa and Frasca. I also like how he's written about some of the more hole-in-the-wall restaurants that I found on my own or through friends. And I love how he's not afraid to try some of the more authentic dishes at ethnic restaurants.

          All I'm trying to say is maybe I just had a string of bad luck with his recommendations lately, so I'm more cautious now. Maybe it's just that -- bad luck -- and nothing more. The places that come to mind off the top of my head are:

          - Forbidden City Buffet: I'm all about cheap Chinese buffets. But the food was awful, especially compared to joints such as LD, Great Wall, and China King. Forbidden City very well could be one of the worst in Denver in that price range, in my opinion.
          - Ya Hala: Terrible experience here. Over an hour wait for the food (even though there was only one other table there) and it didn't taste very good. Personally, I prefer Damascus/Beirut Grill, Pita Jungle... heck, even Falafel King or Jerusalem's.
          - Cowbobas: Didn't think it was all that cheap, plus there was more fat and gristle than meat. The bobas were flat out terrible - chalky mix and tapiocas not cooked properly.
          - Han Kang: Wasn't terrible, but not stellar either. Better Korean food elsewhere. I guess I was especially miffed with this visit because we went during lunch, and there wasn't a lunch menu (like at House of Korean BBQ or Silla). So, the thrifty diner in me was disappointed. Also, I thought the side dishes weren't very good compared to other restaurants.

          And yes, all of these places run ads in the Westword.

          Granted, I may have very well gone on "off" days. Or we might not have the same tastes. Or my expectations were too high based upon reading Jason's reviews before visitng. Or my opinion is skewed because I have a tendency of factoring in value (money spent vs. quality received) into my equations. Or I've just had a really terrible string of bad luck with his rec's lately.

          And of course, these are all just one random gal's opinions... take 'em or leave 'em.

          In any case, I didn't mean to offend anyone.... especially not Mr. Sheehan... and I'm sure he of all people understands that not everyone agrees with his reviews.

          Now, can't we all just get along? ;)

          1. re: luckylily

            I feel an open discussion about Mr. Sheehan is warranted, but I get the impression that the board administrators would like it to take place elsewhere. Following is a link for a post on the News & Media board:


    2. Found your post doing a search for something else and nobody ever answered you fully. So... I know it's too late.. but for what it's worth: Dino's, as of last fall, was still open on W. Colfax and we enjoy going there w/ the crew. It's cheap and pretty tasty egg noodles and basic sauce. Pizza is pretty good too. Nothing *amazing* but timeless.

      Lechugas (note spelling) is still doing same business: Square pizzas and those great meatball or sausage Canoli's (love those things!). My faves are the "little devils" that are sausage canoli's with hot green chilis baked inside. They are on Tejon near... 36th?

      Don't remember anything on North Wadsworth but it wasn't my part of town...

      Adding to C-Fun's list: LOVE going to Vincenza's in Wheat Ridge (on 44th) and Amici's on Sheridan near I-76.

      We all fell in love with "authentic" Italian in Denver (Luca, Frasca, Parisi) but I have a big spot in my heart for Italian-American chow too. Our kids love it and we can afford a nice night ou with a cocktail and a bottle of wine without breaking the bank.

      Sorry I didn't post when you needed it!