Catalano, a restaurant industry vet, who operated Ristorante Catalano for years in Greenwood Village, along with Red Hot Experience in Littleton -- both of which are now long gone -- opened Nonna's Chicago Bistro in 2004 and added the wine bar two and half years ago, which now hosts live piano music on weekends. And if all goes well, a second Nonna's, tentatively titled Nonna's Italian Bistro, will sprout in the spring of 2011.
"We're looking at a space at Streets at SouthGlenn and currently negotiating a deal. It's going well, and I'm really excited about the potential of opening what would be the only Italian restaurant at Streets at SouthGlenn," says Catalano, whose aspirations include a Tuscan-inspired, 4,000-square-foot dining room and lounge augmented by an indoor atrium with doors that open to a sidewalk patio, two fireplaces, a piano bar and a dance floor. "No one else in that center is offering what we're planning to do, which makes it all the more exciting for us."
In addition, says Catalano, who moved to Denver in 1978 from Chicago, the new restaurant will have a small market hustling her own private label wines and coffee, housemade salad dressings, marinara sauce and giardiniera peppers. The menu, she notes, will mimic that of Nonna's Chicago Bistro, a marriage of northern and southern Italian dishes, turned out by executive chef Israel Diaz, who will split his time on the line of both kitchens.
Nonna's Italian Bistro, the name of which was inspired by Catalano's granddaughter, Chandler (Nonna is Italian for "grandmother"), will be open daily for lunch and dinner, and Chandler, who greets customers on the weekends at Nonna's Chicago Bistro, will likely be doing the same thing at the new restaurant, says Catalano, who promises that it will be romantic, but kid-friendly.