Fans of Denver’s home-grown Italian destination Barolo Grill will want to head right away to the restaurant’s new sister spot, Chow Morso Osteria. The all-day eatery opens Thursday inside Wynkoop Street’s historic Saddlery building, formerly home to the Squeaky Bean. Now the same team that offers white truffle tastings and an award-winning wine bottle list in Cherry Creek is bringing affordable pasta plates and wine glasses to the masses near Union Station.
“People come into Barolo and ask us for carbonara, but it’s not on the menu,” explained Ryan Fletter, owner of the new offshoot as well as the 26-year-old establishment. The concept serving “classic riffs” came about slowly, after decades of fine dining success at the Grill and two years of new market research inside Avanti Food & Beverage.
At that food hall, the Chow Morso stall serves a small handful of pastas, salads, and piadina sandwiches (until its closing in October). At the new brick-and-morter Morso, the menu offerings have doubled. Diners can order old-school spaghetti carbonara and addictive cacio e pepe. They can have a truffled arugula and fig salad or a grilled vegetable lunch piadina. Most dinner pasta plates are priced at $14 or $15, while the corn and tomini cheese risotto comes in at nearly half the cost ($14) of Barolo’s pancetta and black truffle version.
While Fletter selects the wine menus, Chef Darrel Truett is leading the kitchens at both restaurants for now, making fresh pastas for the pair of them. The result for diners will likely be an easy choice for dropping in afternoons and late nights (until 11 p.m. weekends), for a family dinner or a working lunch, and to have a glass of wine at the bar with a bowl of clam linguini. From the airy design to the price point, the most refreshing thing about Chow Morso Osteria is how it just doesn’t take itself too seriously. “Let’s roll up the sleeves a bit and have fun,” Fletter said simply.
Status: Chow Morso Osteria opens for dinner on Thursday, September 13. The restaurant is located at 1500 Wynkoop Street. Regular hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays, and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.