Acova, the new restaurant from the owners of the Hornet, has been operating in soft-opening mode for the past week to introduce the neighborhood to the food and drink menu being served in the completely revamped space that was home to Patsy's for nearly a century. But today (Friday, June 1) marks the eatery's official grand opening.
Sean and Betsy Workman and Paul Greaves are the team behind Acova; Betsy Workman explains that the interior of the restaurant has been reconfigured to take advantage of the mostly unused pizzeria space that occupied the south end of Patsy's. She also points out a brand-new multi-tiered patio, some of which is still being completed. As part of the grand-opening celebrations, the completed portion of the patio, including an indoor/outdoor bar, will be open for business. And in support of the northwest Denver community, 25 percent of net sales today will go to Bryant Webster Elementary School.
One of the customers who has been sampling the menu during the soft opening is Kim DeLancey, who owned Patsy's with her husband, Ron Cito, until they sold it in August 2016. Cito has since passed away, but DeLancey, who was eating lunch with her 88-year-old mom (born and raised in the neighborhood) on May 31, says his spirit can still be felt in the place. "The first time I walked in here [after the remodel], I felt at peace," she explains.
DeLancey also says she loves what the Acova team has done with the building and is glad it's being put to good use as a restaurant. To those who've said it will be too hard to see what has become of their favorite neighborhood joint, she has some advice: "It's not hard; you just walk in the door," DeLancey notes.
In fact, she's thinking of being at Acova to welcome people as they walk in the door. DeLancey and Betsy Workman have been talking about having the former owner appear as an occasional guest host, something DeLancey says would help keep her connected to the restaurant business.
Those familiar with the Hornet, which opened at First Avenue and Broadway some 25 years ago, will recognize Acova's eclectic slate of American and international dishes, with a generous dose of comfort food, classic bar bites and slightly more adventurous eats. The Hornet's nachos have always been some of the best in town, and you'll find a similar — and equally mountainous — platter here. Wings, deviled eggs and a hummus platter are among the standards on the appetizer (no, not small plates) menu, but there are also grilled or raw oysters. pierogi, and togarashi-seared ahi.
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On the lunch and dinner list, ten sandwiches and an equal number of plated entrees offer plenty of variety to keep things fresh for return customers. There's an oyster po'boy and a French dip, an Italian hero and a Buffalo chicken wrap, and on the entree side, veal osso bucco, fisherman's stew and bistro steak. Like the Hornet, Acova offers plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, too.
No neighborhood restaurant would be complete without brunch, of course; Acova's starts at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Although they won't find big Italian entrees, longtime Patsy's customers will be able to catch subtle reminders of the restaurant's past life. Once you're past the host station, which was built from the old pasta roller, look around and let us know what you spot!
Acova is located at 3651 Navajo Street and open from 11 a.m to midnight Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and Sunday. Call 303-736-2718 or visit the restaurant's website for more information.