The Monkey Barrel rolled into the Sunnyside neighborhood in 2016, resurrecting Carbone's Italian sandwiches in the process, thanks to Tony Lonardo, son of Carbone's original owners, Rosa and Nick Lonardo. But the sausage sandwiches didn't last long inside the bar and music venue, and owner Jimmy Nigg has been getting by on standard bar fare ever since.
But a new partnership at the Monkey Barrel promises a familiar taste of Denver, albeit from across town. Benny Blancos Slice of the Bronx, which serves pizza from a walk-up counter at 616 East 13th Avenue, took over the kitchen last week and is now serving pizza by the slice (and whole pies), calzones, sandwiches and other Italian fare.
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"They've done a really great job of transferring their recipes and menu over here," Nigg says.
The ovens began cranking out pizza for lunch and dinner last Wednesday, and late-night service was added over the weekend for bar patrons sticking it out until last call. Slices start at just $2.50 each for big, floppy, New York-style cheese pizza, and most other menu items are under $10. There's currently no delivery, but Nigg notes that it's a possibility soon.
The Monkey Barrel was originally located at 1611 Platte Street, but was forced to close when the building was sold in early 2016. Nigg reopened in Sunnyside later that year and then added a new wing onto the space to accommodate a stage for live music.