Angelo's is back -- under a slightly new name, with new owners -- but back. Almost forty years after it first opened on East Sixth Avenue, Angelo's closed at the end of May for three months of renovations, and reopened as Angelo's Taverna last week. While much of the place looks new, some of the old decor elements have been kept -- as has more than half of the original menu.
"When we first came in here, we were just going to buy it and turn it into a different restaurant," says Craig Jones, one of the new owners. "The neighborhood was in love with Angelo's, so we took that challenge and said we could keep the integrity of Angelo's alive for another 39 years."
So Jones and his partners kept the recipe for Angelo's red sauce and pizza dough, but gave the menu a twist, too. "At the end of the day, we still wanted to do something that was a little bit our own, so we wanted to bring Colorado its first-ever char-grilled oyster bar," explains Jones. "We take good-looking West and East Coast oysters and grill them in some of the local flair you get in Colorado -- like Breckenridge Bourbon or chipotle butter." Those char-grilled oysters are only $2 each during happy hour, but a relative bargain at other hours, too. "Every place that sells oysters in Denver is charging $45 to $48 for Shigokus and Kumamotos," he says. "We're charging $29."
Happy hour runs daily from 3 to 6 p.m., and then again from 9 p.m. to close. The kitchen will be serving late, too; this Angelo's hopes to add a late-night scene on this stretch of East Sixth Avenue.
Scott Hybbeneth, the chef who came to Angelo's from Sushi Den and Izakaya Den, may make more changes in the coming months. "I grew up on the East Coast, so this kind of red-sauce stuff is my comfort food," he says.
"We're going to really work on the seafood aspect of the restaurant moving forward," Hybbeneth continues. "Also, we are very aware and accommodating to gluten-free people -- gluten-free pizza dough, gluten-free pasta options. Although it pains me as a chef to do it, we understand that there's a demand for it."
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The new owners also added a sixteen-foot bar in the front room. "The wine program is really something we wanted to get behind and promote," says bar manager Lasha Muske. "We particularly picked out the Soave and the Vermentino because they pair well with oysters. The Vermentino pairs really, really well with the chargrilled and the Soave pairs really well with the raw." Keep reading for more photos of the new Angelo's.