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Remembrance of things pasta at the Saucy Noodle

A river of memories -- and red sauce -- runs along the 700 block of South University Boulevard, where Sam Badis bought a little joint named Jim Sano's back in 1964, changed the name to the Saucy Noodle, painted the walls red and added the slogan, "If you don't like garlic...stay home." I discovered the place a dozen years later, when we were working odd (very) jobs to cover the cost of starting Westword and my partner was a waiter at the Saucy Noodle. One night he dreamt that he poured spaghetti sauce on the grave of his father. Thirty years later, his father is still going strong.

So is the Saucy Noodle, although it's weathered a fire, a renovation, an expansion and the passing of ownership to Badis's granddaughter, Erin, and her husband, Nathan Markham. But so many things remain the same.

Although the menu has been updated and expanded, the first appetizer listed is still Morey Amsterdam's fried ravioli, and each entree continues to come with a big salad -- studded with peppers and pepperoni, and best when slathered with pungent gorgonzola dressing. And even though a few old standbys have disappeared from the menu, the kitchen is usually willing to make them anyway, a Saucy regular reports.

Inspired by the chill in the air (and a scouting report that mentioned the menu changes), we dropped by the Saucy Noodle last night and grabbed a booth, a couple of glasses of wine, and a big plate of homemade spaghetti. The joint was filled with neighbors and other regulars, including Andrew Romanoff, the outgoing Speaker of the House for the Colorado Legislator, who lives a few blocks west of the restaurant.

And while there are certainly newer, hipper Italian spots in town, it's hard to imagine a Denver restaurant that's more a part of the neighborhood, or a better place to sit and drink Chianti and talk about things pasta and present. -- Patricia Calhoun

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