Southwest suburbanites are all over the arrival of Virgilio's Pizzeria and Wine Bar, which opened on Saturday in the former Johnny Carino's plot at 10025 West San Juan Way, in Littleton. The behemoth 6,400-square-foot space is the second restaurant from owner and pizza master Virgilio Urbano, who opened his first eponymous pizzeria in Lakewood in 2005.
That opening, says Urbano, was a breeze compared to Saturday night's ball-buster that attracted an insane parade of people, some of whom were camped out by the front door long before the joint opened at 4 p.m. And some of those people weren't happy, thanks to a glitch in the pizza line's POS system, which, according to Urbano, went bizerk from the get-go.
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"We were mobbed and on a two-hour wait at one point, and because it wasn't already crazy enough, the computer system went completely erratic on us, spitting out double, sometimes triple orders and then not printing out some tickets at all, which meant that some people had to wait forever for their food," says Urbano. "It was supposed to be a soft opening, but instead it was a super grand opening that turned into an embarrassment, but we did the best we could to overcome the issues -- comping dishes, giving discounts, pouring free wine and offering as many apologies as we could."
By Sunday, the agony of defeat had subsided, the POS system had rid itself of the Poltergeist, the staff had slept and customers were shoving pizza down their gullets without complaint. "Sunday was a whole different beast, except for the fact that I realized, I guess for the first time, how damn big this place is. I can't find anyone," jokes Urbano.
The restaurant's visuals -- an exhibition kitchen, cherry-red booths, a huge wine cabinet, a long back-lit bar complete with 32-bottle Enomatic wine system imported from Italy, private rooms, one bedecked with a fireplace and walls patched with faux-Italian artwork, Sinatra pics and black and white photos from Urbano's family album -- are reminiscent of a red-sauce Italian joint. "There's a good, warm feel to the place, and I think when people come in, they see a restaurant that's conducive to families and fun," Urbano says.
They'll also see the same board of pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, salads and cheeses (housemade burrata and mozzarella) that the original Virgilio's peddles, along with two daily happy hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to close (10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday) to close. Regular hours will be Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. For more info, call 303-972-1011.