For those diners who didn’t get a reservation in September when Tavernetta first teased an opening, now is the chance. The Union Station-adjacent Italian restaurant by the owners of Frasca is back in business as of Thursday. It closed for seven weeks following a kitchen fire just eight days after opening.
The restaurant — designed by Semple Brown — is still looking fresh and airy, flowing between a lounge, two dining rooms, an event space, and an open kitchen that serves to connect them. As if at home, diners walk right through the kitchen to get to their seats. Otherwise there’s room for drinking and casual eating by the front bar. A handful of lucky guests also can sit across three chef’s tables.
Menu items for the most part pick up where they left in September, with meats and cheeses starting off dinner, followed by plates to share — bagna cauda, fritto misto — and antipasti, such as sunchoke sformata. A Maine lobster tagliatelle and mushroom-burrata campo di funghi highlight the pasta options. Main courses range from Berkshire pork shoulder to European Branzino, or sea bass.
Servers and staff at Tavernetta are grateful to be back at work and ready to get re-started. Though the business lost an estimated $600,000 during the weeks closed, business partner Peter Hoglund said that, with the help of insurance, he was able to pay staff during their time off and retain most of them.
The entire team was buzzing about during an opening preview and thank-you party Tuesday night. They invited to dinner Denver firefighters, who responded to the kitchen blaze September 21 during a busy night of service. As firefighters and friends mingled during dinner, an honorary fire engine stayed parked just beyond the dining room’s picture windows. Guests ordered “Fire in the Wall” mezcal cocktails and staff smiled and nodded at the reference. “We’re here now,” Hoglund said, explaining that he was ready after a few years plus seven more weeks to finally run the restaurant. By the end of the evening, relieved and excited, everyone toasted.
Status: Tavernetta is officially open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. on weekends at 1889 16th Street.