Opening chef Nicholas Petrilli is back at Gozo, the Italian/Spanish-inspired restaurant that opened in March 2014 at 30 South Broadway. He's back, but he has a new boss: Curt Sims and his wife, Pam Savage Sims, familiar faces in Denver's restaurant/club world for the past thirty years, took over the place a month ago, bringing lots of local connections to the concept.
"The previous owners were not as connected to the community," notes Pam. "We're not planning on changing anything."
After all, why change the space, which transformed the tiny spots occupied by Deluxe and Delite (and then Juanita's, briefly) into one sleek, whitewashed room? Or the menu, which lists pizzas and a variety of different-sized plates, including happy-hour offerings that include oven-charred olives? "There's something to eat all day long," Pam says. "It's adjustable food, very cravable food."
It's also not Mexican, which is the specialty at Lime, the restaurant where Pam made her name as a chef rather than a chanteuse (as much of the city knows her). The couple opened the original Lime in Larimer Square almost twenty years ago; that spot closed five years ago (today it's home to Milk & Honey), but Curt and Pam still own two Lime locations — one in Winter Park and one in the Denver Pavilions. "It's nice to be able to talk about something other than tamales," Pam says. "They're two completely different concepts. We're not competing with ourselves."
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They're also not starting from scratch, because founder/front-of-the-house manager Frank Jolley IV remains at Gozo. He and Petrilli spent time in kitchens in Napa before coming to Denver to open the restaurant, but Petrilli left before Gozo's first anniversary.
"I think it was just challenging," Pam says of Gozo's first three years. "We want to be able to support them as they reboot the concept.... It's a good second and third act for us."
And for Gozo.