Cafe Society

Original Pasquini's launching new look, logo and happy-hour menu

More than 25 years ago, the Pasquini family opened their first restaurant, Pasquini's Pizzeria, on South Broadway. Today that location is in the hands of Melinda Pasquini, and she's in the process of changing the look of the restaurant, changing the logo and remodeling the exterior to look like a building straight out of the family's hometown of Lanciano, Italy. She'll also launch an Italian vacation-inspired happy-hour menu September 17.

See also: - Pasquini's plants its newest pizzeria in Cherry Creek - Pasquini's will open a pizzeria and bar in the old J.R.'s space - Pasquini's changes name of Cherry Creek spot to Tony P's

Melinda Pasquini took over the Broadway restaurant in 2004, when she bought it from her brother, Tony. "It had been a family restaurant and had been their blood, sweat and tears for so many years," says Tera Haselden, a spokeswoman for Melinda Pasquini. "And she just wanted to make sure that it stayed within their family and obviously had a passion for it and wanted to carry on."

Although many other restaurants around town bear the Pasquini name, this location is no longer related to any of them. "Melinda has chosen to remain independent because she just felt like the focus of the restaurant was on the customers and the quality of food that they were serving, more so than on becoming a big, widely known chain in Denver," Haselden explains.

In order to avoid confusion, Tony Pasquini recently changed the name of his new restaurant in Cherry Creek to Tony P's. "There were some family reasons behind the name change," Haselden admits. "Family businesses are certainly difficult."

Melinda was recently married in Lanciano, and the look of that town inspired the direction of the exterior remodel that will be done this fall. That theme will also be reflected in new happy-hour offerings.

"Melinda's father lives in Italy and grew up there, so they did [the wedding] back in his home town," Haselden says. "They're doing an Italian vacation-inspired cocktail and happy-hour menu, so they're doing dessert plates and appetizers that are native recipes to the area. They're doing Italian-themed drinks and they're really focusing on the sort of fun, fruity, flavorful cocktails -- martinis, bellinis, things like that." Among the new offerings: a Dulce de Leche Martini and a Lemoncello Bellini.

Look for that new menu to roll out next week.