Lechuga's has been a north Denver Italian institution since long before Chuck Lechuga and Rachel Vigil bought the place in 1989; the building, at 3609 Tejon Street, previously housed Carbone's Italian Bakery as far back as 1961. Sydney Stroup bought the place in 2014 — keeping the Lechuga's name — and soon afterward opened a kiosk on the 16th Street Mall selling mostly Lechuga's renowned sausage canolis. Now Stroup is ready for further expansion; she's opening a second Lechuga's restaurant at Wadsworth Boulevard and West Colfax Avenue early next year.
Stroup has been planning a second location for more than nine months and enlisted the help of regular customers to help choose the right part of town. "We surveyed a lot of people in the restaurant for a few weeks," she explains. In the end, a strip-mall storefront at 7475 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood came out the winner.
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"We'll have the exact same menu and the same prices," she adds. The main difference will be more of a fast-casual model, where guests will order at the counter and then have their food and drinks brought out to them.
Soon west-siders will have a shorter drive for Lechuga's square pizza, Little Devils and spaghetti with red sauce. With the loss of so many other classic Italian eateries over the last few years — Pagliacci's, Patsy's and Longo's Subway Tavern, to name a few — the expansion of an old favorite means Denverites are still craving a taste of nostalgia.