Just got off the phone with Enrique Guerrero, co-owner and chef at Mangiamo Pronto -- which means "Let's Eat Now!" -- a fast-casual Italian joint in Santa Fe, New Mexico that's coming to downtown Denver in early September, specifically to 1601 17th Street, in the former Common Grounds space.
Guerrero, who was the corporate chef at Il Vicino, a national pizza chain headquartered in Albuquerque, when the first Denver store opened in 2000 at 550 Broadway, says the Colorado outpost of Mangiamo Pronto will be similar to his Santa Fe operation -- but with a few significant upgrades. "In Santa Fe, I do really simple, straightforward food like salads and panini, and we'll do those in Denver, too, but I also want to have a salumi and cheese bar, handmade pastas, a fish and meat special every day and a full bar, which we don't have in Santa Fe," he told me.
When I asked Guerrero why he chose Denver for his next location, he stopped short of saying we were the most wonderful people in the world, but he came close: "Denver is a little city that feels like a bit city, and I've met some of the nicest people anywhere in Denver. I fell in love with it when I spent time there. It really is the best choice for us."
Welcome to the neighborhood.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.