After nearly two years of work on the former Patsy’s building at 3651 Navajo Street, the new Acova restaurant and bar is ready to open. Customers of its 95-year predecessor will hardly recognize the place — bones are intact but a 100-seat dining room has been opened and turned industrial-modern. There is an indoor-outdoor bar and a 100-person patio. Soon patrons will be able to roam a back courtyard with more neighborhood businesses filling old buildings, and even a kids playground.
“In no way do we even want to be compared to Patsy’s,” Acova co-owner Betsy Workman says. “Because you can’t. It’s memorialized.” Workman gets emotional now talking about that restaurant’s legacy in this historic Denver neighborhood. She and husband Sean Workman also own the 22-year-old Hornet on Broadway. They got to know Patsy’s last owners, Kim DeLancey and Ron Cito, and together with Paul Greaves they bought the Highland restaurant space two summers ago when DeLancey and Cito were looking to retire. Cito passed away last February, but DeLancey still comes into the restaurant and may even appear as a hostess.
Workman hopes that Acova, which translates to “nest” in Italian, can “get back to the roots of what a real neighborhood restaurant is.” Its redesign features wood and metal furnishings from local designer Fin Art (see also Old Major, Linger, and Spuntino in the neighborhood). It also includes a few nods to Patsy’s — some wood flooring and salvaged accents like a red cooler door and converted pasta roller. Chef Matt Miller is introducing an eclectic lunch and dinner menu that Workman hopes will bring people back in multiple times a week. There’s nachos and wings as well as pierogis and seared ahi with polenta cakes. Entrees include lobster mac and cheese, veal osso bucco, and a house-made veggie burger. Starting this holiday weekend, brunch will be served as well as a full bar menu with organic red, white, or mixed wine slushies and $3 bloody marys.
Status: Acova will open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday. Special holiday weekend hours are as follows: noon to midnight on Friday May 25, 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Memorial Day brunch. Check the website for menus and more information.