As I looked around to see if there was a spare meatball, my eye caught the gleam of a glass jar. No! Not the shaky cheese!!!

The jar was full of processed, mostly-not-actual-cheese granules. Why wouldn't a kitchen buy real Parmesan and grate it? The cost differential is not significant, and actual Parm has complex, fruit-forward flavors that greatly enhance pasta dishes. Which these gum-and-filler sprinkles were not going to do. I threw a cloth napkin over the jar so I wouldn't have to look at it.

I should have saved that napkin for the chicken Parmesan, which was a massive let-down. A searing-hot ceramic boat held a thick blanket of half-melted mozzarella cheese over two soggy, gummy-breaded, seasoning-free chicken breasts that tasted like nothing but old, musky fryer oil. All that was swimming in red sauce, but no amount of even Patsy's good sauce — medium-thick, and well balanced between sweet and tangy — could make these birds fly. Fortunately, Patsy's homemade spaghetti was good enough to make me almost forget the earlier disappointments. The fat, squiggly, chewy noodles were the size of drinking straws, swimming in that sauce; they were fun to spear with my fork.

jenn wohletz

Location Info



3651 Navajo St.
Denver, CO 80211

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Northwest Denver


Patsy's Italian Restaurant
Chicken Parmesan $10. 50
Half & Half $9.25
Meatball $2
Wine sundae $5
3651 Navajo Street
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 5-9:30 p.m. Saturday, 4-8 p.m. Sunday

The menu included a "wine sundae," and although mixing wine with ice cream seemed like something that should be attempted with extreme caution — kinda like mixing gasoline with lasers, or Kanye West with other people — I couldn't resist ordering it. My server brought out a beautiful — and tall — footed glass layered with scoops of hard-serve vanilla ice cream, whipped topping and a fruity, sugary red-wine reduction syrup. This tantalizing, warm syrup tasted grapey, but it wasn't a phony, candied grapey-ness; rather, it was like simmered grapeskins and real sugar. I ate every bite and wished Patsy's offered the wine sundae in a Big Gulp-sized serving.

On my way out of the restaurant, I stopped to pet Patsy-Cat. There was only one other person fawning over her — a scruffy man who was either indigent or just dressed like someone who was — and we had a good convo about Garfield. I told him the annoying little striped cat, Nermal, was a boy.

"Huh," he exclaimed. "I didn't ever know that."

"I know, right?" I replied. "It's his big eyelashes that throw you off."

It's these small, seemingly insignificant interactions and exchanges that really flavor a meal at Patsy's. While the Italian food isn't the best in town, the rich, colorful history is unbeatable. As it turns out, Patsy's is neither a relic nor a retro-hip restaurant, but more like a cozy neighbor's kitchen, complete with its own resident feline. I hope it will be around 91 years from now, with a robotic cat outside and people cruising over by jet-pack, stopping in for a taste of yesterday.

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Jenn.....what person goes to the door of a restaurant at 11am and expects to get great service? you are an idiot....Patsy's is Patsy's....It 's not all that great...I miss Chubby......Their Pizza from 1971 to 1982 was the best around....Period....He was pissed at Richard Carbone and killed his pie to death...Not that they were the same, but It was Killer....


I find it interesting that only one visit prompts a review.  This intrepid "reviewer" should visit for dinner, too, to provide a better rounded review.  Patsy's has great food - I highly recommend the Chicken Marsala - and during my last visit, but before this snide review, I had real parm grated onto  my entree by our server, not "shaky cheese".  Bad review, not worthy of Westword.


Can we stop with the history lessons already in these reviews lately?  I find my self skimming down to get to the meat of the matter.  Where is the editor on these? The writing is not bad, just to much about everything but the food.



This review jives with my only experience there.  The atmosphere was cozy and warm and the food was OK but the selection, quality, and value could not hold a candle to family run Italian restaurants that dot the strip malls and street corners back east like Mexican joints do here.


I had been meaning to get to Pagliacci's and see if they could match the east coast Italian experience.  Their menu seemed like it might, except on the value side, but I guess it does not matter since they will be no more.


 @IZen This IS NOT the East Coast.  So annoying when people invade Denver and try to compare.  Completely different. 


And the cheese  - that is what you get at a sauce joint.  This isn't a Bonanno restaurant. 


That said, the last time I was there, the fat homemade noodles were not as fat as they used to be.  I am wondering if the old pasta machine finally gave up the ghost.  Very sad if that is the case.

patricia.calhoun moderator editortopcommenter

 @IZen i'd love to publish this in the print edition, ideally with your full name/town. let me know if that's okay at