Corporate buyouts, gentrification, urban infill: These are the forces that get vilified when time-honored corners of our city are lost to change. But sometimes, something as simple yet inevitable as growing old can close a popular business. Such was the case when Ron Cito and Kim DeLancey retired and closed Patsy's at 3651 Navajo Street. The Italian restaurant was founded 95 years ago by Cito's great aunt and uncle, Maggie Tolve Aiello and Michael Aiello. Since there's nobody to really blame for the loss of a Denver culinary landmark, we can look forward to what will come next.
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And now we know what Patsy's next chapter will be. A liquor-license transfer has been filed by Paul Greaves and Sean Workman, co-owner and managing partner, respectively, of the Hornet, which has served the Baker neighborhood for more than twenty years at 76 Broadway. That's just a blip when it comes to the longevity of Patsy's, though on the Italian restaurant's last day of business, DeLancey noted that the new owner has a great deal of respect for historic Denver buildings and that she and Cito were "very excited for the venue coming in."
The working name for the new project is the Vespa: Italian for wasp or hornet, which may be a clue that the new owners will maintain an Italian theme. If not, north Denver could do far worse than to welcome the Hornet's brand of neighborhood hospitality.