Il Posto owner Andrea Frizzi wants you to eat lunch like the Italians do. Not a nap-inducing, hours-long meal, but a power lunch of two courses like what you might find in Milan or Rome. “This is how we do it in Italy,” says Frizzi. “People go to eat and then get out.” He promises that Il Posto’s new lunch service, which launched on May 3, will have you in and out in under an hour.
You can order á la carte from a concise menu of small plates, pastas, and secondi—the mortadella and caciocavallo cheese “piadina” (flatbread sandwich) is fantastic, as is the crispy-juicy chicken Milanese served with charred lemon and mizuna from neighboring Altius Farms’.
Or, as Frizzi recommends, you can try out the $22 two-plate plan. Pick from three starters: a lovely chicory salad with yogurt vinaigrette and pine nuts; savory stuffed calamari in a bright tomato sauce with broccolini; or a seasonal soup, the current iteration featuring white and green asparagus with morels and spring onions. For the second course, you can have any pasta on the menu, an always-perfect seasonal risotto (now with saffron and asparagus), or the piadina.
Since no proper Italian lunch would be complete without wine, Frizzi is offering $6 glasses of white and $7 glasses of red. But bar manager Adam Gamboa has something even more special in store: He has developed a beverage program that features both house-made amari and mocktails based on his own virgin “spirits”.
Gamboa’s first amaro was just released this week. “It’s a funky homage to amaro,” says Gamboa, “with all the elements, but with fresh ingredients like basil and pineapple skins. It’s floral, bright, and herbaceous.”
If a three-Negroni lunch doesn’t fit into your workday, try one of Gamboa’s excellent mocktails instead. He’s been perfecting his Vir-gin (get it?) for months, ending up with a non-spirit made with all the common gin botanicals (juniper, orris root) and an Italian ginger ale; he doesn’t distill it so it never becomes alcoholic. As a result, Il Posto’s mock Negroni satisfies just as much as a boozy one. There’s also a sparkling drink called Puttin’ on the Spritz (Vir-gin infused with lemon balm, hyssop, peppermint, and vanilla seeds, with a splash each of prosecco and soda), that tastes just like a citrusy Aperol spritz but without anything in it to get you tipsy.
“I wanted to bridge the gap between drinkers and non-drinkers,” says Gamboa, who was inspired to explore non-alcoholic beverages after watching his sober father struggle to feel comfortable at parties without a drink in hand.
Whether Milanesi drink mocktails with their power lunches or not, at Il Posto, hungry Denverites definitely—and deliciously—can.
If you go: Il Posto is now open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.