Stefano's Italian Bakery & Deli opens in Arvada

"My family owned a casket company in New Jersey, which has nothing to do with anything, except that even people who own casket companies have to eat," quips Stephen Lo Iacano, a Jersey native who in 1987 moved to Vail -- a town, he says, that doesn't know its meatballs from its matzoh balls.

"I had a really, really bad Italian meal at a restaurant in Vail, and I vowed, after that meal, that someday I'd open an Italian deli just like we have back East," says Lo Iacano. It took him a while -- almost 25 years -- to fulfill his promise, but in August of this year, he delivered, opening Stefano's Bakery & Deli, at 9296 West 58th Avenue, in an Arvada small mall. "I looked all over the place, but I needed a location where the rent was decent and where I could fit and eventually grow," he explains.

It's a small space scattered with a few tables and counter seating, a deli case parading Boar's Head brand meats, pudgy meatballs, cheeses, desserts, side dishes and trays of calzones and pepperoni rolls. "We make most everything from scratch," notes Lo Iacano, "including our Sicilian-style meatballs -- those are fourth-generation -- and our breads, which are true Italian loaves, with no preservatives."

Business, he says, has been brisk, but in this economy, he notes, there's always room for more butts in seats. "We're getting busier, and I'm putting out the best product I can -- that's my philosophy -- but there's no such thing as being too busy."

Stefano's is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 720-287-2062 for more info.

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