He might hang out at cocaine- and sex-fueled parties on South Park, but in real life, you're more likely to report that local Fox News anchor Ron Zappolo is savoring saltimbocca and sipping red wine at his favorite Denver restaurant, Venice Ristorante and Wine Bar.
You could ask Zappolo time and time again where he regularly eats out, and his answer would remain the same. "People laugh because I eat dinner out there probably 80 or 90 percent of the time," he jokes. "I eat there just about every single Saturday night."
Zappolo exudes enthusiasm for the Italian restaurant, which by now treats him like family. "I absolutely love the food," he says. Zappolo considers chef/owner Alessandro Carollo -- whom he has known for years -- and general manager Mario Mazzei good friends, and he gets the same server on each visit.
While he's been to all four of Carollo's restaurants -- including two others in the Denver metro area and one in La Jolla, California, which is now closed -- Zappolo usually noshes at the downtown location at 1700 Wynkoop Street.
What does he order?
Zappolo claims to have had everything on the menu, but says he typically cycles through about seven or eight dishes. When cornered, he highlights the restaurant's veal, Carollo's specialty -- particularly the scaloppine ai capperi, the scaloppine al marsala and the saltimbocca alla romana.
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Zappolo also recommends any of the fish specials, the bone-in ribeye, the ravioli (of which there are a number of choices) and the antipasti. To drink, the newscaster says he enjoys Italian wines but has a thing for Travaglini Gattinara, an affordable red from the Piedmont region.
"I'll go to Racines once in a while, but if I'm going out for dinner, I go to Venice," he says. "I'm a creature of habit, big time."
In case you missed it when it aired in 2007, here's Zappolo's South Park cameo, alongside other Colorado notables like Jake Jabs and ex-Denver Bronco quarterback Jay Cutler: