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Gaetano's Restaurant

Map & Directions 3760 Tejon St.
Denver, CO 80211
  • Italian, Pizza
  • Mon-Thu 11pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 24 Hours
  • All Major Credit Cards, cash, ATM/Debit
  • Kid Friendly, Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Smoking, Takeout, Vegetarian Friendly, Wheelchair Accessible
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • Full bar
  • Accepted, Recommended for Large Parties
  • Free, Lot Available


Westword's Description

Gaetano’s has a very colorful past. The Smaldone family founded the Italian-American restaurant in 1947, serving homemade pasta and meatballs doused in red sauce in the dining room while book-making and other less savory operations went on behind closed doors – which explained the bulletproof glass in the front of the joint. Ultimately, the family discontinued that portion of their operations, then sold Gaetano’s altogether to the Wynkoop Group, which, nearly a decade later and now partnered with Breckenridge Brewery, undertook a major renovation, knocking down walls and revamping the menu. When the changes were unveiled in the summer of 2012, they came as a shock to generations of north Denverites – but the new interior was actually a pleasant surprise, with big windows (not bulletproof) and comfortable booths by the bar. The menu updates were less successful. When in doubt, go with dishes flavored by the old-school Gaetano’s, including meatballs (offered both as an app and a side), lasagna and gnocchi. And for an offer that you – and the kitchen – really can’t refuse? Ask for the on-request-only pasta topped with sausage, green peppers and a very traditional red sauce.

Merchant's Description

Originally opened a few blocks away on 36th Ave, Ralph and Mamie Smaldone raised their growing family during tough times in the “wild, wild west” in the early 1930’s. To boost business in the café, the entrepreneurial couple bootlegged moonshine during prohibition while their three sons, who would grow into Denver’s charismatic mobsters, were in and out of jail for any number of minor offenses. In the late 1940’s, sales were down in the café, so Clyde vowed to help his parents upon his latest release from jail. In 1947, Clyde moved the café to the present day location at 3760 Tejon and renamed it, Gaetano’s, Italian nickname for Clyde.

Member Reviews

  • jan80123 wrote a review for Gaetano's Restaurant
    on 12/27/12

    A friend and I ate at Gaetano's on Friday, December 21. The service was great. The food was middling to good. Our waitress graciously suggested that we share the whole-leaf Caesar salad, and half a salad was plenty. I ordered the eggplant, which turned out to be merely the glue that held together two sides of the somewhat oil-laden breading. The accompanying side of pasta was... More >>

  • tannaruzicka wrote a review for Gaetano's Restaurant
    on 07/12/10

    Get their meatballs. They are to die for!

  • DarcyK wrote a review for Gaetano's Restaurant
    on 04/05/10

    Really like this place for local and close italian, however, if you do order to go check your bag b/c they do forget to add things consistently.

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Tips from foursquare

  • Denver Westword on 12/06/10

    Winner of Westword's Best of Denver 2010 - Best Neighborhood Italian Restaurant!

  • DenverPost on 05/21/13

    The menu covers a lot of ground. The pasta carbonara was an excellent take on that classic, and for dessert, the tiramisu stood out. They've got local beers are on tap and the cocktails are exemplary

  • Suzanne on 09/20/11

    Come visit Buzz during the week at hh, 3-6pm. Awesome women, even better jokes!

  • Kyle J. on 11/15/12

    Get a drink at the bar. Let Tony make something for you!

  • Aaron on 10/24/13

    Great ambiance, amazing food in a Denver institution... Start at the bar... Tony is an awesome bartender, hell the whole staff is great!

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