See that snap up top? That massive fortress is slated to become Virgilio's Pizzeria and Wine Bar, the second outpost for Virgilio Urbano, whose original namesake pizzeria in Belmar is roughly the size of a pea compared to the 6,700-square-foot palace that Urbano will open later this summer at 10025 West San Juan Way in Littleton.
When I spoke to Urbano earlier today, he told me that he can't sleep at night, that the stress of having two places will "likely kill" him sooner rather than later, and that there's "way, way too much to do" before he opens.
Which sort of begs the question: Why open another restaurant?
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"Virgilio's in Lakewood is small, and we're bursting at the seams, so I think we need to grow," to told me, adding that the new space, a former Johnny Carino's, was too good of a deal to pass up. "I really believe that with the current economy the way it is, that this is a great opportunity to expand and own the property," he continued.
The primary difference between the original Virgilio's and the new restaurant will be on the wine side, noted Urbano. "It's hard to find anywhere in the metro area with a wine preservation program, real wine glasses that you can stick your nose into and great late-night food," he said. Urbano will offer upwards of 50 wines by the glass, many of which will be Italian. "With our wine system, we'll have the ability to pour a two-ounce glass, a half glass or a full glass, plus we're going to do wine flights," promised Urbano, who added that his goal is to "let customers sample great wines without having to buy a bottle."
As for the menu, Urbano told me that he plans to add "more ravioli dishes and a fresh mozzarella menu that'll include my fantastic scratch-made burrata," which Urbano is already offering as a special at the Belmar location. I've had it, and he's right: It is fantastic.
Ultimately, said Urbano of his new manor, "I want it to be family restaurant -- kids love pizza -- along with a place that can also be a great date night."