Denver's had to say arrivederci to some of this city's pizza pioneers this month. Hank Dire, whose parents founded the Bonnie Brae Tavern in 1934 and who worked at the family business for his whole life, passed away at the age of 84 in early June.
Ben and his wife, Josephine, started the Edgewater back in 1953 as a 3.2 bar. When the post office next door at 5302 West 25th Avenue moved out, they jumped at the chance to go for the bigger building -- and a full liquor license.
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"To accomplish this task, many hours of hard work were required," the Edgewater's website reports. "Ben and Josephine had to petition everyone in the neighborhood, meaning they had to go to every household to ask the residents if they were or were not in favor of a bar going into the community. This amounted to a total of 96 blocks, this was no easy task. They did however succeed in getting enough signatures and community support to acquire a license."
And for 55 years now, the Edgewater Inn has had a full bar to augment its pizza lineup....even if Josephine and Ben are no longer there to serve it, along with their homespun advice.
Like the Dire clan, the descendents of Josephine and Ben DiPietro plan to keep the family business going.