The comments continue to pour in regarding the imminent closing of Pagliacci's, which Lori Midson reported here Saturday, and have inspired an outpouring of memories of the restaurant overseen by the sad, neon clown for more than six decades...and more discussion of the changes in northwest Denver.
Gentrification, huh... But the memories of North Denver persist as something richly nostalgic, and so different from what it has become. There was both the restaurant and the council district, called District X (not 10, but X) lorded over by Mike Pomponio who didn't allow any Denver politician to fart unless he approved. There were the Aiellos, original owners of Patsy's--a place with a back room where political deals shaped the city. Gaetano's offered red sauce and sweet sambuco, and dinners dangerous from the meanderings of the Smaldones within. There was Three Sons, where the Sanno family--the sons John, Tony, and Jimmy--served meals in a room that eventually took on a kind of faux elegance. Then there was/is Pagliaccis, originally established in 1940 by the Grandinettis, that persisted through the neighborhood's rough and tumble transition from Italian, to Hispanic, to what it is today--a gentrified hodgepodge of... Well, I really don't know what it has become. Certainly not what it used to be in those simpler, richly nostalgic days of yore. I will miss Pagliaccis, as I miss so much of the history of North Denver--both the people and the places that now reside only as memories. Ciao.
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