Photography credit: Claire Stragand
Denver’s South Broadway/Englewood neighborhood is often known as the “Green Mile”, due to its abundance of dispensaries and smoke shops. It’s not only cannabis-friendly, but it is plentiful with boutique shops, antique stores, and restaurants. It also happens to be very close to where I live. I love to eat and drink, and one of my favorite restaurants in the past few years has quickly become Colore Italian Restaurant. I like it because it’s within a few minutes of my home, but I ADORE it because it always delivers a delicious experience with consistent quality and excellent service. It’s also family-owned and operated for over a decade.
Colore opened in 2009, before South Broadway was as popular as it is now. Sarah and Chris Millette are the current owners, and became involved in 2011. They are the kind of owners who are in the mix of serving, bussing, and taking calls with their staff, which means they care deeply about their restaurant’s success, and also know exactly how to make their customers happy. It began its story as a fast-dining spot, and over the years has transformed into one of the area’s best authentic Italian restaurants. Our event and food photographer Claire Stragand and I were able to visit during a Monday lunch hour, to not only experience the best of what Colore has to offer, but get to know the owners a bit, and learn the story behind creating their dream.
Sarah and Chris were extremely welcoming, and provided us with a few of their favorites to sample throughout our meal. We began with the Bruschetta and the Pan-Seared Mussels for our starter items. The mussels were absolutely incredible, and some of the best I’ve had in Denver… and you can’t beat their perfectly seasoned chipotle tomato white wine broth, with dipping crostini. The Colóre is their house salad speciality, with a beautiful mix of Italian meats, artichokes, roasted red peppers, and a homemade vinaigrette. I am a huge fan of carbs in both pasta and pizzas (and every other form), and Colore has incredible options to offer for both: we settled on the Penne Arrabiata, Conchiglie and Broccoli, and the Shrimp Fra Diavolo, which were all full of flavor and perfectly prepared. Photographer Claire Stragand decided that her favorite item was the Piccante pizza, with pepperoni, sausage, jalapeño, and garlic. Personally, I couldn’t pick a favorite. The Tiramisu (so light and dreamy!) was the perfect finale to an incredible meal.
During my visits to Colore Italian Restaurant over the past few years, I’ve never had a bad dish, and the experience has always been one that keeps me wanting to return at every opportunity. The portions are huge and extremely affordable for the quality, and the service is exceptional. This makes so much sense in getting to know Sarah and Chris a bit, and understanding their commitment to their restaurant. They care deeply about the food they create, and the experience they offer to their diners.
Sarah and Chris, thank you so much for having us at Colore. Can you tell us a bit more about how Colore got started, and how it has become what it is today?
Colore opened in July of 2009 as a fast-casual, counter service concept by my former business partner, and her family. The concept evolved into a full service concept just prior to our partnership forming in July of 2011, when we bought my partner’s brother out. The two families ran the concept together until 2020, when we purchased the remainder of the restaurant. Colore has evolved from casual counter service to a full service restaurant, with a focus on American Italian dishes, with a small but smart wine list, and thoughtfully crafted cocktails and local beers. We are approaching our 14th anniversary, and are proud to have become a staple destination in our neighborhood.
How would you describe Colore Italian Restaurant, and the kind of food and experience you provide?
Colore is an upscale casual concept, serving American Italian comfort food. We offer straightforward dishes in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. While we focus on traditional cuisine, we also offer food, wine and cocktails that allow our guests to indulge beyond the casual. Our goal is to provide service that is quick, genuine, well informed, and unpretentious.
What are your personal favorite dishes, and why?
This is a loaded question, but some of our favorites include Chicken Saltimbocca (prosciutto and sage with marsala), the Cheese Ravioli (the tomato cream sauce is awesome), Shrimp Fra Diavolo (spicy, smoky, tangy), Salmon Salad (fresh fish cut daily), Fritto Misto (calamari on steroids), and Peach Bread Pudding (our signature caramel sauce).
How has Denver changed since you opened the restaurant in 2009, and how has that changed how you operated?
The Englewood/South Denver area has evolved into a vibrant and growing neighborhood. We have witnessed a renaissance of the surrounding area from run-down car lots to the birth of The Green Mile ten years ago, and we are now surrounded by an abundance of restaurants, bars, shops and residences. The density of the neighborhood is exploding, with hundreds of people moving to the area every month. We have adapted to this growth by streamlining our operation so that we can offer fast service, while maintaining the integrity of our product.
Anything else you would like us to know?
We love being an integral part of our community. We support local businesses, schools, churches and organizations, just as they support us. Englewood and South Denver is our home, and we couldn't be happier to be surrounded by such amazing people.
How can people find your menu, make reservations, etc?
Visit our website at coloreitalian.com to view our menus, make reservations, order online, and see a virtual tour of our space.