Review: After a Kitchen Nightmares wake-up call, change is good at Pantaleone's

Pantaleone's 2120 South Holly Street 303-757-3456 Pete Fafalios is passionate, stubborn -- and no longer stuck in the past. Nor is Pantaleone's, the pizzeria on South Holly Street that he founded in 1985 with his wife, Paulette, which survived not just Denver's downturn in the '80s, but the recent recession, as well. When business failed to really bounce back -- the dining room sometimes turned only one or two tables a night -- they turned to Kitchen Nightmares and were contacted by the show's producers the next day. And last month, when the episode devoted to last summer's remake of his restaurant finally aired, it followed a segment on the owners of Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale, who handled criticism by screaming and branding naysayers as "trolls."

Fafalios couldn't have scripted a better lead-in to his story.

See also: Behind the Scenes at Pantaleone's

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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz