Construction Watch

Patsy's Replacement Has a New Name: Acova

Construction underway earlier this year on the old Patsy's space, which will soon become Acova.
Construction underway earlier this year on the old Patsy's space, which will soon become Acova. Mark Antonation
Patsy's, one of Denver's oldest Italian restaurants, closed in August 2016 after 95 years of serving red sauce in northwest Denver. Several months later, the liquor license at 3651 Navajo Street was transferred to Paul Greaves and Sean Workman, who run the Hornet at 76 Broadway. The restaurant name listed on the license was "Vespa," the Italian word for wasp or hornet.

After a lengthy and major facelift, which included the removal of the old bar and the addition of roll-up garage windows on the front of the building, the restaurant is now nearly ready to open. Hiring has begun, but there's been one major change from the original plan: The new eatery will be called Acova.

Here's the description verbatim from Acova's Facebook page:

Acova is writing the next chapter of one of Denver's great neighborhoods. An iconic locale in a historic district, Acova builds on the rich story of "The Northside" (now known as LoHi) by breathing new life into an address with soul. Even its name pays homage to its South Broadway sibling restaurant The Hornet, while tipping a cap to its storied Italian predecessor Patsy's. Cova, which means "Nest in Italian, is your place. The place you bring friends and family from out of town to show them what Denver's all about. The place you go for that after work cocktail, or your go to date spot, whether it's your first or 50th date. The place you get the group together on a Saturday night, and where you recover together on a Sunday morning. Acova is the next Highlands institution, bearing vintage flair and contemporary charm that threads the past into the future. Acova brings you back time and again because you are part of this story now, and Acova is part of yours.

And that story is ever-changing. The homey bar and mural-bedecked dining room of Patsy's will be impossible to replace, but Acova's owners acknowledge the history of the area, even paying respect to "the Northside," as locals still call it, despite the trendier, real estate-driven monickers like Highland and LoHi gaining in popularity.

The day Patsy's closed, owners Ron Cito and Kim DeLancey told us they knew at the time who would be taking over the longtime family joint. "We're very excited for the venue coming in," DeLancey said at the time. "It will be a great fit for the neighborhood."

When the Hornet opened more than twenty years ago, it took over another neighborhood favorite, Mary & Lou's Cafe, but over the decades it has become a classic gathering spot in its own right. Given time, Acova could become a favorite for neighbors, too. Unfortunately, Cito won't be able to take a seat in the dining room he once presided over; he passed away last year.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation