Even for those of us who keep an ever-watchful eye open for every kind of food, especially in the most unlikely places, something unique or wonderful can escape our attention. Such is the case with Belfiore Genuine Italian Sausage, at 5820 West 38th Avenue in Wheat Ridge, a tiny deli that's been turning out quality sausage and sandwiches since 2006.
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The history of Belfiore goes back even further, though. Gino Scarafiotti purchased the business twelve years ago from a family that had run it in north Denver for more than sixty years. Now the little deli turns out fresh and dry-cured sausages, sandwiches and other housemade Italian foods. You can pick up sausage by the pound to cook at home, but if the strong aroma of spices in the shop prove too tempting, grab a Penny Lane sausage sandwich (all of Belfiore's sandwiches are named after Beatles songs) for the road.
The first thing to know is that the Penny Lane is big — really big. Three hot Italian links are lined up on a whole ciabatta loaf, and the construction is sliced in half before being wrapped in butcher paper. Even a half sandwich is plenty, so share with a friend or save half for later. Along with bread and sausage, you'll get a slathering homemade red sauce, a sprinkling of pecorino Romano cheese and a little dressing (just enough to moisten the bread without making its presence known over the other flavors). The sausage itself is strong on fennel and is cooked to a soft, almost meatball-like texture. If you're concerned about getting your daily allowance of veggies, each sandwich comes with a tiny cup of garlic-stuffed olives.
There's really no seating inside the shop, so plan on taking your meal with you — and plan on a lunchtime visit, because sandwiches are only made until 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Grab some dry sausage for later, too; its a dying art in Denver's old-school Italian eateries. Belfiore may be hard to spot the first time around, but you'll never forget the way back after your first Penny Lane.