Liberati Restaurant & Brewery, the Italian eatery and "oenobeer" birthplace founded by Roman brewer/restaurateur Alex Liberati, is closing its doors on Monday, March 2, after a year and a half at 2403 Champa Street.
The brewery-restaurant dazzled and confounded when it first launched, calling itself Liberati Osteria & Oenobeers. Not only were the beers — beer-wine hybrids that captured the best of both grape and grain — completely new and baffling, but the cuisine delved into regional Italian specialties seldom found in other Italian-American eateries. Sampietrini sandwiches, baby-octupus stew and house-cured salumi were on the menu in the early days, even if the focus shifted toward more approachable bites as time went on.
But Alex Liberati's indomitable spirit and infectious enthusiasm kept the place always interesting, whether he was experimenting with housemade cheeses, launching a new line of Roman street-style pizzas or introducing a new stout bolstered with nebbiolo grapes. Within the first year, Liberati earned a spot on our list of the best new restaurants of 2018, our award for Best Brewery in an Italian Restaurant and a place on our best Italian restaurants list in 2019.
“We greatly enjoyed working on this project, and are very grateful for all the brilliant people we met and the accolades we received”, Liberati stated in a press release announcing the closing. “I’d like to especially thank my staff, and all of our many loyal supporters! Moving forward we’ll be putting all of our energy and efforts behind exploring the uncharted territory of oenobeers, furthering innovation and sharing our knowledge to educate others on this unique category."
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That staff included executive chef Marta Biasotti, whose pastas were always on point and who introduced many new Italian dishes to Denver, and baker Federica Ansani, who turned out artisan breads and pizzas from many regions of her home country.
The brewery and restaurant buildout was a massive undertaking, transforming the hulking Golden Bell Press building in Curtis Park into an airy gathering spot filled with art from Denver artist and beer writer Paul Vismara, and adding an expansive patio complete with a grand fountain and bocci courts to the neighborhood. We're hoping the space won't stay vacant for long.
The owner also notes that his restaurant will finish out Denver Restaurant Week this weekend with special menus, so you can drop in and help drain the beer tanks before final last call on Sunday night.