RiNo Restaurant The Greenwich Goes Italian | Westword

The Greenwich Goes Italian in RiNo

Two and a half years after its debut, owner Delores Tronco and executive chef Luke Miller have revamped the menu.
Jersey Ernie's Meatballs were inspired by a family recipe.
Jersey Ernie's Meatballs were inspired by a family recipe. Behind the Apron Media
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"It's not a whole new restaurant; it's just more focused," says Delores Tronco of the newly launched 2.0 version of the Greenwich, her RiNo eatery.

Tronco is a familiar name in the local dining scene. She co-founded Work & Class before selling her part of the restaurant and moving to New York City in early 2017. Two years later, she opened the Banty Rooster in Greenwich Village — just before the pandemic.

After shuttering that venture, she returned to Denver and opened the Greenwich in 2021 as a New American restaurant helmed by chef Justin Freeman. He has since moved on and is now the executive chef at vegan eatery Somebody People; he's also working toward opening a restaurant of his own through a pop-up series called Monarch.

Now Luke Miller, who had been working as the pastry chef and chef de cuisine at the Greenwich, has stepped into the role of executive chef. "One of the questions after he took over was, what allows Luke to come into his own as a chef?" Tronco says. "We started thinking about, what is the best part of the restaurant? He's most excited about the pizza. So then it was like, what makes sense? Italian just makes sense."
click to enlarge man in a chef's coat and apron posing next to a woman in a green shirt
The Greenwich executive chef Luke Miller and owner Delores Tronco.
Behind the Apron Media
Plus, Tronco comes from an Italian family. Her paternal grandparents, Carlo and Mary, were from Naples and Sicily; they came to this country through Ellis Island and lived in New York and New Jersey, running a produce cart and a small bakery and selling fish. "Mainly eels, out of tubs," Tronco notes. "My dad would tell us these stories about stirring up the eels and his grandmother would yell at him."

But the Greenwich is next door to another Italian restaurant, Dio Mio, which Tronco considered carefully when deciding how to revamp the menu of her own place. "I want to be a good neighbor. I want to be a good part of our neighborhood and our community," she says.

So while Dio Mio has a fast-casual service style and is pasta-forward, the Greenwich is full-service, and its new menu has only two pasta dishes — ricotta dumplings and clams with fregola, a Sardinian pasta.

The rest of the lineup includes pizza, of course, plus various small plates priced for wallet-friendly snacking, salads and vegetable dishes, and three larger entrees. The hope is that people will now dine at the Greenwich more casually and frequently. "I don't want people to feel like they have to have a special occasion in order to eat here," Tronco says.

"The big thing outside of the cuisine we're cooking is just being able to source great things, and I think Italian food is great for that because we can cook so simply," Miller adds.

Highlights to start include housemade mozzarella that's stuffed with 'nduja, breaded, fried and served with a sweet garlic salsa ($8); marinated zucchini ($13) that's charred but still firm and served with fresh dill, shallots, a bright vinaigrette and whipped ricotta; and salt-roasted beets ($15) with a fig vinaigrette and pistachios.
click to enlarge carpaccio on  a white plate
The carpaccio is a standout at the Greenwich.
Behind the Apron Media
One splurge from the small-plates section that's well worth the price is the carpaccio ($28), made with wagyu beef sourced from Tronco's cousin's farm in Edwards. The thin slices of flavorful meat come topped with sunchoke chips, black garlic aioli and sunflower sprouts.

Miller has made the pizza his own, too. "Anything he touches with dough is magic," Tronco says. While he's still using a whole-grain sourdough crust, he's changed up the cooking technique, resulting in a crust that's more crisp than the prior iteration. The newest addition to the pizza menu is one topped with spicy tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella, red onion and Calabrese sausage ($24) and served with hot honey.

The large entrees are all shareable and include a piccata-style take on the Greenwich's roasted chicken ($39); a whole fried branzino with honey-jalapeño pesto and marinated tomatoes ($62); and meatballs (four for $24 or six for $34) served over polenta and named for Tronco's late father.
click to enlarge a pizza
Pizza is taking more of a leading role at the Greenwich.
Behind the Apron Media
The recipe for Jersey Ernie's Meatballs is based on how her family made the meal when she was growing up. "I think it was important to have a couple of dishes that were just nostalgic and homestyle. It was a mix of pork and beef, you have to cook it in the sauce for a long time, it always included fennel seeds," she recalls telling Miller. "He took that and did his version," including adding bacon to the meat mix. "Honestly, the first iteration, he knocked it out of the park. Even my mom came in to taste it, and she was like, 'This is amazing.'"

There are a few new desserts, too, though the restaurant's signature cheesecake ($9) topped with olive oil and salt remains the same — and is a must.

Specials include a happy hour from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and all day on Tuesday, plus Marg Mondays with $8 Italian margaritas and $12 margherita pies.
click to enlarge limoncello in four glasses
Housemade limoncellos can be enjoyed straight or in a spritz.
Behind the Apron Media
The beverage program has gotten a refresh, too. It includes several housemade limoncellos that can be sipped straight or made into a spritz. There's also a trio of negronis ($14) along with cocktails such as the Naked & Italian ($15), with mezcal, Aperol, Strega and lime; and the extremely sippable Nolita Punch ($13), made with Disaronno Amaretto, lemon and simple syrup.

The new wine list is heavier on Italian varietals, and Tronco created new flavor descriptions for all the bottles and by-the-glass options. "My hope was that this would open up the wine list to people," Tronco says. "I just wanted to do something that was like, let's democratize it. Let's make it accessible, and let's give people some guideposts.'

The changes are significant, but the restaurant has maintained its core. "It's more like the Greenwich 1.75," Tronco jokes. "It wasn't like I wanted to close the restaurant or that it wasn't succeeding. ... We're just trying to make it a little more affordable and create more opportunity for people who just want to come in with a friend and snack and not do a whole three-course thing."

The Greenwich is located at 3258 Larimer Street and is open from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit thegreenwichdenver.com.
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