The Saucy Noodle, which Gretchen Kurtz reviews this week
, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in August -- a remarkable record for a restaurant that's still in the founding family's hands. But it's not the only place in the area run by family members fifty years after it opened. Up in Louisville, the Blue Parrot is just five years shy of celebrating its hundredth anniversary of continuous operation under the same family; next month, La Fiesta will mark its fiftieth birthday. Keep reading for our roster of a dozen Denver area restaurants that have been a family tradition for fifty years or more.
See also: At Fifty, Sauce Noodle Ristorante Feels Like an Old Friend
12) Blue Parrot
640 Main Street, Louisville
Opened in 1919
Blue Parrot is the oldest, continually operating family-run restaurant in Colorado. Mary Colacci used to invite the residents of Louisville to join the Colacci family for big Italian dinners on Sunday afternoons; she and her husband, Mike, finally opened their own restaurant in 1919. Their two sons worked there with their families; today the third through fifth generation of the Colacci family run the restaurant, which is a Louisville landmark.
3651 Navajo Street
Opened in 1921
In 1921 Michael Carmine Aiello opened Aiello's Italian kitchen in a part of Highland then known as Little Italy. His son, Pat, joined him at the restaurant; when Pat left for the service in World War II, George "Chubby" Aiello stepped in to run the place -- and change its name. "We decided to make a name change and Patsy's was born," he reportedly said. "Overnight, we were Irish!" After Chubby passed away, the restaurant went out of the family's hands, but Ron Cito -- a cousin of the Aiello family -- and Kim Delancey took over in 2007, serving up the same red sauce and fat homemade noodles.
10) Sam's Number 3
1500 Curtis Street
Opened in 1927 (across the street)
Sam's Coney Island opened downtown in 1927, serving up chili, dogs and other diner standbys. Over the years, it grew into a mini-empire, and a dozen years ago the Armatas family returned to downtown, where it opened Sam's No. 3 right across the street from the original location. Today there are two other locations, in Aurora and Glendale, and the menu at all three is voluminous, with eight pages crammed with specials and sides and extras. All of it's big food, served in a down-home style.
Keep reading for nine more family-owned restaurants that have lasted than fifty years.