After 66 years in business, Pagliacci’s served its last plate of spaghetti in August 2012 — and last week, Lumina held an open house so that people could see the distinctive retail/residential project that replaced the longtime Italian restaurant, in the process earning the Best Attempt to Stand Out in LoHi award in the Best of Denver 2015.
The new building, which stands right alongside I-25 at the edge of northwest Denver, is stunning both inside and out: tres birds workshop, which designed the project, even incorporated some of the history of the place into it, saving five of the neon signs that had graced the outside of the restaurant.
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Two of those signs, “Italian” and “Good,” now light up the main community area; one that says “Pagliacci’s” is fixed above the garden of the outdoor balcony; another has been turned into a garden planter box. But at the open house, the "crown jewel of this bent neon collection,” as tres birds calls it, did not make an appearance: The colorful Pagliacci’s clown that once smiled down over the highway was among the missing.
Now comes word that the restaurant's namesake clown will be installed on Friday. "This sign will rest high in the central atrium and act as a beacon of Denver’s heritage, welcoming building inhabitants as it once did," tres birds promises.