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There is only one true Italian restaurant -- back east, in that charmed province that runs along the coast, north into New England, south as far as Baltimore. Upstate, downstate, in the barrens and on the shore, just one restaurant with 10,000 names that has grown the way mushrooms grow, invisibly, inexplicably, sending runners out into dodgy neighborhoods and onto street corners once lit by trash-can fires, sprouting buds that push up through the cracked cement and grow into another Tony’s, Frank’s, Mama Leone’s, Mama Tacone’s or Jimmy’s All-Star, another Campesino’s, another Gianello’s -- always possessive, always named. There is only one Italian restaurant. Ten tables, sometimes a bar, sometimes a counter separating the kitchen in the back from the floor, sometimes a curtain, sometimes a door. Red-and-white checked tablecloths or green-and-white checked tablecloths, Sinatra or Louis Prima, pictures on the walls of long-gone relations in black and white; of Tuscan hillsides in oversaturated color; of garlic cloves, tomatoes, bowls of fruit.

There is only one Italian restaurant and, this week, Gennaro’s Lounge on South Broadway is it—a near-perfect representation of all that East Coast neighborhood style and red sauce simplicity, our one among ten thousand.

But hey, if tomato gravy and Louis Prima aren’t your thing, we’ve also got instructions on how to kill a man with a broken beer bottle, insider info on where to score some back-east Genny Cream Ale on tap, the final word on the Blue Parrot’s infamous Wopburger, and some news about Cure Farm, Colterra and an ugly little case of he said/she said/I said that (I hope) will be settled after this week.

--Jason Sheehan

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.

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


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