Pagliacci’s. Patsy’s. Louiseville’s Blue Parrot. Over the past few years, the Front Range has lost many treasured old-school Italian joints. Jon Robbins, the chef-owner behind fine-dining Bistro Barbès, Denver Central Market’s Temper Chocolates, and the now-shuttered Souk Shawarma, wants to reverse that trend with Red Sauce, which will open in Park Hill in the former Desmond Bar & Grill space on November 5.

And while Denver has seen a glut of chef-driven, authentic-regional-Italian restaurants open in recent years, Robbins and his business partner Megan Silvertooth are bucking the style du jour with Red Sauce. “It will be very American, very nostalgic, and family friendly. Almost a cliché,” Robbins says. “There will be red checkered tablecloths, Rat Pack music, and we’re trying to do Chianti bottles on every table.”

The food will be scratch-made but simple. Robbins, who grew up in Park Hill but has lived on the East Coast, is particularly excited to introduce Denverites to “spiedini alla romano,” a staple in Italian-American restaurants back east. “It’s basically pieces of bread stacked with cheese in the middle, dipped in egg wash, fried, and served with a caper-anchovy sauce.” He’s also developing a take on the legendary Brooklyn Blackout cake.

One thing you shouldn’t expect to find on the menu? A selection of fresh pastas. With the exception of one hand-made ravioli, Red Sauce will largely focus on dried pasta dishes. “We want to serve larger portions that are designed to take home, and for prices to remain reasonable,” Robbins explains, “we’re toning it all down a bit.”

Red Sauce will be open for dinner seven days a week starting November 5.

2230 Oneida St.

Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.