Denver is losing its old-school red-sauce joints. The latest to throw in the towel? Dino's Italian Food, which has been serving at 10040 West Colfax Avenue for almost six decades, growing from a small storefront to a sprawling, 240-seat restaurant.
But Dino's is closing at the end of September, the owner revealed earlier this month. The rambling Lakewood restaurant was founded by Dino Dipaolo, and his daughter, Judy Duren, still runs it. When we profiled her place a year ago, she said that she had no plans to close, but also told us: "I think we're a dying breed. Independent restaurant owners are a dying breed. You can't afford to do it anymore."
And now she's decided that Dino's is done. Says Brett:
I'm gonna miss Dino's.
I'm gonna miss those meatballs
Can't believe I've never been, will have to rectify that. Miss Patsy's. Love Lechuga's and Saucy Noodle!
There is more competition these days. Plus, with the increased costs of doing business, you've got to be savvy to make the numbers work. Some restaurants have closed because the owners could sell the real estate and make money.
The reason they're closing is because their equipment is so old that their cost of operations is higher than their profit, and to update everything to be energy-efficient would cost them so much it would put them out of business. So it's kind of a lose-lose for them. I'm hoping in two years or so we'll see a Dino's Takeout place pop up.
I see more independents than I used to. Just seems like they care more about the food than the national chains.
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Unfortunately, we are losing great eateries and they are replaced with horrible food.
Since Dino's announced its final day, the place has been packed, and according to Duren, the kitchen can barely keep up with food production. (Everything is made fresh and never frozen.) "I think we're feeding all of Kansas and Wyoming," she says. "I think it's a great tribute to Dino, but it's been pretty crazy."
Over the last decade, metro Denver has lost many favorite Italian joints, including Patsy's, Pagliacci's, Carbone's and Longo's Subway Tavern. To celebrate those that are still open, we recently published a slideshow featuring ten Italian eateries that have survived more than fifty years. But soon, we'll have to take Dino's from that list.
What do you think about the closing of Dino's? How Denver's restaurant scene is changing? Post a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.