Nonna's Italian Bistro, Market & Deli Is Generations in the Making

It took longer than expected to open Nonna's Italian Bistro, Market & Deli in Centennial, the newest restaurant from the Catalano family. But what's a couple of years when you have more than half a century of history behind you? "This is the culmination of the dreams of a generation finally coming together," says Kristy Lynn Miller, marketing manager for Nonna's. And this past Monday, the restaurant soft-opened to the public, again sharing the family recipes of owner Dedria Catalano-Tudor after years in the wilderness. See also: Nocturne, a Supper Club, Will Marry Jazz and Food in RiNo

The new location on Arapahoe Road in Centennial is the only Nonna's owned by the Catalanos, who sold Nonna's Chicago Bistro three years ago. Catalano-Tudor was pondering a location in the Streets at SouthGlenn a few years ago, but when that location didn't pan out, the family kept looking for the next opportunity. It didn't come easy.

"She wanted a deli and a bistro together, and a market where she has imported Italian goods. So we had to find a space that was large enough for all this," says Miller, Dedria Catalano-Tudor's cousin. "She wanted an open kitchen, a nice big brick oven for the pizza and she wanted a patio. So it was very difficult to find a space that had all that."

But the new space in Centennial has room for all that, as well as a deli serving quick take-out foods like Nonna's Chicago-style dogs and house-made charcuterie, a market with special items from the homeland, a coffee and gelato section and a bistro where Chef Victor Salgado can do his thing.

Miller says the menu at Nonna's will carry on the family tradition, stretching back to when Catalano-Tudor's grandfather opened Johnnies on the North Side of Chicago back in 1952. The family still offers the same hot dogs and still makes its giardiniera peppers in-house. "Everything on the menu has some kind of family touch," Miller says. That's including the pizzas tossed in the open kitchen, and the more traditional dishes like arrabiatta pasta.

At the moment the restaurant is still in a soft opening mode; brunch and extended hours for the deli are forthcoming. But Miller says the years of effort were worth it when she saw how her cousin was moved at the sight of patrons finally dining in her restaurant. "It was the most amazing thing in the world to see her face," Miller says. "It was like her dream was coming true right before her eyes."

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