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Pagliacci's celebrates its 65th anniversary in 2011

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When we compiled our list of restaurants that have been in business, and run by the same family, for forty years or more, we missed one of the longest-standing Italian venues in the city: Pagliacci's Italian Restaurant. Although it's a baby by the standards of the Blue Parrot, that's still a good run.

Frank Grandinetti and Thelma Balzano met in 1940, got married and opened their red sauce Italian joint in 1946, picking up the location from another Italian family, the Vetos, who'd also operated a restaurant in the spot. In the 1970s, when the Grandinettis were ready to retire, they passed the torch to their niece, Rose Ann Langston, who still owns it. And her son, Mark Langston-Gonzales, is the general manager.

The place has been under the same name at that same address since it opened, which also makes it one of the oldest restaurants in Denver still in its original location. And though it's gone through menu and decor changes over its 65 years, (we were sad to see that dark, Frank Sinatra-like bar go, although the grotto remains), it's still serving red sauce Italian classics -- and free minestrone soup with dinner orders.

For more information, dial 303-458-0530.

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