4

Luca Celebrates Fifteen Years With New Pizza Oven and Menu

Luca's new wild-mushroom pizza with bechamel, taleggio and truffle oil.EXPAND
Luca's new wild-mushroom pizza with bechamel, taleggio and truffle oil.
Mark Antonation
^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Frank Bonanno opened his first restaurant, Mizuna, in 2001 and then followed up two years later with Luca (originally Luca d'Italia), named after one of his sons. Over its fifteen years at 711 Grant Street, Luca has gained a reputation as one of Denver's premier destinations for Italian cuisine — a restaurant on par with, if slightly more casual than, its sibling just around the corner.

But Bonanno recognizes that tastes change over time, and he's constantly looking at ways to appeal to new customers while maintaining his loyal base. So after celebrating Luca's fifteen-year anniversary on February 15, the chef shut down the restaurant for a quick remodel, reopening it a few days later to reveal fresh decor — courtesy of Jacqueline, his wife and business partner—  as well as a new pizza oven in the kitchen. The changes give the place more of a neighborhood vibe while maintaining menu favorites ranging from the housemade pastas to the thoroughly Italian salumi-and-cheese boards, which are loaded with cured meats, including many that Bonanno makes himself.

Luca is now for pizza lovers.EXPAND
Luca is now for pizza lovers.
Mark Antonation
The coppa and goat's-milk ricotta are both made by Bonanno and his team.EXPAND
The coppa and goat's-milk ricotta are both made by Bonanno and his team.
Mark Antonation
Martinis for two in the newly redesigned Luca.EXPAND
Martinis for two in the newly redesigned Luca.
Mark Antonation

While this is Luca's first go-around with pizza, Bonanno has already had years of practice at Larimer Square's Osteria Marco, which is named after his other son. The pies at Luca are similar to those at Marco's, with a classic Neapolitan crust (thin and crisp around the edge and a little floppy in the middle) and toppings that eat more like entrees than typical pizza-joint combos. The wild-mushroom pizza, for example, comes sauced with bechamel, which would be equally at home atop pasta.

Bonanno says that it took a few days to dial in the new oven, but that the crusts are now coming out great — just in time for Denver Restaurant Week. Luca will be running with the same menu during DRW, which stretches from February 23 through March 4, and then he'll roll out something that will appeal to old and new guests alike.
The cocktail list already boasts classics from Luca and Osteria Marco's past menus, which are perfect for raising a toast to fifteen years, a major accomplishment in the restaurant world.

Next up for Bonanno is Milk Market, where the number fifteen will also be prominent. The project is a food hall, expected to open in late spring or early summer on the Dairy Block in the 1800 block of Wazee Street, with some fifteen different food and drink stations.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.