Abrusci's brings more Italian dining to Cherry Creek; lunch starts tomorrow

Steve Progar, who opened Abrusci's Italian Eatery two weeks ago in the former space occupied by Campo De Fiori, 300 Fillmore Street, is betting that Creekers will embrace a restaurant that's intended to be an everyday dining experience absent of sticker shock prices.

"We're not your garden variety, $30 a plate restaurant," says Progar, who also owns the original Abrusci's in Wheat Ridge. "My feeling is that there are already enough $30 plates in Cherry Creek, and that there are plenty of residents and business types working down here that want a warm and casual place with great food and approachable prices," Progar tells me.

In fact, he says, the lunch menu, which rolls out tomorrow, doesn't include anything over $12, and dinner entrees top out at $22. "We'd love to make this into a Cheers-type place where you can come in and have a really nice Italian lunch or dinner without breaking the bank," explains Progar.

To that end, Progar is also bringing another happy hour to the 'hood beginning on Monday, May 3. It'll run from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and include half-price appetizers and several wine and drink specials, says Progar, who's also counting on plenty of patio traffic. "It's such a cool patio, because it's offset from the street, so you get this great little oasis of privacy where you can talk."

Speaking of conversation, which was all but impossible at Campo, thanks to nothing but hard surfaces, Progar, who toned down the dining room, also carpeted the floors. "You wouldn't believe the dozens of people that have commented about how nice it is to have a conversation," says Progar. "We've even had a lot of Campo fans coming in and saying that it's great to be able to hear."

Hear this: Starting tomorrow, lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and dinner from 5 p.m. to close. For more info, call 303-462-0513.

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