WHEN WE MOVED FROM FLORENCE, ITALY in 1997, we were so excited to share with Denver authentic Italian food. In 1998, we opened a small market with imported Italian goods and a small deli menu. This was a time before the term “foodie” was coined and we sure received funny looks trying to sell burrata, bresaola, alici or mozzarella di bufala… but our customers realized that we offered things that weren’t around town. Now many of these items seem to be intrinsic to every trendy restaurant around town and we quietly enjoy the idea of being the first to introduce so many of these delicacies to Denver.
Much to our surprise, it was the food that we were preparing that our customers responded to most… especially when we added pizza to the mix and even moreso when we moved to our current location and added a wood-fired oven. Preparing food became a way to channel what we missed from Italy and what we like to think of as “Edible Nostalgia”. So know that every time you eat something from our menu, there is some story from Italy attached to it…. whether it’s a little nod to Nonna or just a memory from a day trip through Chianti.
We are now older (and hopefully wiser) and have evolved our business to match the needs of the neighborhood and also to match the times… though our market & deli are no longer a focus in our business, as products are more readily available from chain outlets (thus we can’t compete with the pricing), we still infuse the influence of all of those specialty import items throughout our menu and have also enjoyed seeing the growth in domestic artisanal production of specialty goods that were once only made in Italy.
Why Fast-Casual? We want the experience at Parisi to truly be about the food and the ability to eat out as an alternative to cooking at home, without all the pomp of making an evening of going out. We have faster service without formal table service and it ultimately allows us to serve more people at lower prices since we are more volume-oriented without compromising the quality of the food…
So upon your first or many visits, we hope you will enjoy our little piece of Italy that we have recreated. Simplicity and authenticity are our goal, which we hope everyone, from the guy who just wants a great sandwich for lunch to the ultimate foodie, can recognize and appreciate.