Greg Goldfogel checked in a couple of weeks to reveal his new plans since abruptly closing Alto, the restaurant that replaced the beloved Ristorante Amore, last summer. "I have finally got my head back on straight," he said, "filed for bankruptcy, and decided to launch Amore Natural Foods, bringing back my pasta sauces, kalamata olive tapenade, bruschetta, homemade pasta, flourless chocolate torte, biscotti, etc., with the natural and neighborhood food stores as our target market."
But Goldfogel also has a second part of his business recovery plan: pot.
"This is completely separate from my Amore stuff," he says. "That's 100 percent me."
But in a different section of the commissary where he's makiing Amore's all-natural products, Goldfogel and some partners have launched Mangia Ganja Gourmet Edibles, which is cooking up edibles -- everything from high-quality gelato to green chile -- that emphasize another natural product: medical marijuana.
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"I have no interest in making edibles for the stoner kids," Goldfogel says. "I'm in this because there are legitimate people who want to use this medicine, and don't want to smoke." According to the Mangia Ganja website, "these are not 'medicated foods,' but truly gourmet, delicious, sweet and savory edible treats, prepared by professional chefs in our certified commercial kitchen in Denver."
Although Goldfogel says this venture has yet to make any money, Mangia Gourmet products are already available in two dozen local dispensaries, including the Alameda Wellness Center.
But Goldfogel has met with challenges here, too, including the fact that he needs to get a license from the city in order to be compliant with the state's July 1 deadline for new medical marijuana businesses -- but the ordinance passed by the city in January to regulate dispensaries didn't deal with the edibles licensing issue. Now Denver has only two weeks to come up with a process for edibles businesses, as Goldfogel pointed out at a Denver City Council committee meeting this week. "I don't want to become the poster child for pot," he says.
No problem -- the city already has plenty of those.