Chefs Alex Figura and Spencer White are ready to unveil Dio Mio Handmade Pasta to the public at 4 p.m. today at 3264 Larimer Street in RiNo. The counter-service eatery will serve traditional and "Dio Mio style" pasta dishes along with an array of small plates that are grounded in Italian standards but splashed with influences from beyond the Mediterranean.
You'll find classics like fettuccine, pappardelle and cavatelli, some simply adorned with red sauce or served as cacio e pepe — nothing more than black pepper, Parmesan and a creamy egg sauce. But others get a little more creative, like fazzoletti (handkerchief pasta) doused in lamb ragù, olives, black garlic and pistachio, or whole-wheat noodles accompanied by caramelized onions, fonduta and bottarga — shavings of cured, dried fish roe. All of the pasta dishes are priced between $12 and $15.
Figura, who was at the helm of Lower48 Kitchen when it won our Best New Restaurant award in 2014 (before closing at the end of last year), says the soft-opening menu from last night will remain largely intact through November, with a few tweaks based on customer input and kitchen streamlining. Small plates — ranging in price from $4 to $13 — include a bowl of castelvetrano olives with candied orange and whipped feta; an octopus and potato spiedino (skewer); a melty Italian mozzarella sandwich called a corrozzo, here pasted with soft nduja sausage and tomato preserves; and fried quail drizzled with saffron-chili honey.
Dio Mio has room for about 65 guests in two spartan dining areas. It's mostly a counter-service operation, but you'll be able to leave your tab open to avoid paying several times at the counter if you decide to add drinks, desserts or more food, and wines by the bottle will be opened and served tableside. Wine is the focus of the bar menu, but there are also a handful of house cocktails, four beers and ciders on tap, espresso drinks and a small selection of amaros.
The restaurant will be open daily from 4 to 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday) for now, but Figura adds that lunch hours will be added beginning December 5, and he also hopes to soon offer Sunday brunch and Sunday evening family dinner service.