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.
"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.
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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.