Cafe Society

Frank Bonanno opens Lou's Food Bar -- and we've got the first look

"Yeah, it's been stressful, and there was a point where I felt like I was going to throw up," confesses Frank Bonanno, who's clinging to a glass of red wine while sitting at the bar of Lou's Food Bar, his newest restaurant that opened last night at 1851 West 38th Avenue. "But now -- now it feels really good, and I've got the best people in the world around me to make this thing work" -- people like executive chef Mike Peshek, who spent five years commanding the line at Luca D'Italia, Bonanno's Italian restaurant at 711 Grant Street.

Lou's, an American comfort food den with an affinity for market-driven French influences, trumpets our favorite kind of board: portly housemade sausages that dribble fatty juices; a formidable charcuterie lineup pimping everything from duck rillettes and duck liver mousse to duck pâté and a salumi plate, paved with various manifestations of pig, including copa, prosciutto and Virginia ham; escargot bobbing in butter; and main dishes that draw from Bonanno's repertoire of pleasurable, classical comfort foods -- spaghetti with mozzarella-stuffed meatballs, enchiladas plumped with carnitas, duck confit a l'orange, hanger steak and a magnificent heap of fried chicken.

"I want this to be a great neighborhood place, and I think it's different from everything else in this neighborhood, but it's also a big departure for me and a risk, because I own the building," explains Bonanno.

But this is Frank Bonanno we're talking about, and as with everything Bonanno touches, Lou's is poised to become another irresistible -- and successful -- restaurant in his growing culinary kingdom.

We sat in on the soft opening of Lou's earlier this week, and we've brought back a bundle of photos to give you a taste of what you have to look forward to.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson