Unless you’ve opened a restaurant yourself, it’s nearly impossible to understand how difficult it is, and how long it takes. Construction setbacks, permitting delays, and staffing shortages are just a few of the problems that can pop up during that stressful time for restaurateurs and their teams.

Tavernetta, the eagerly anticipated Italian restaurant from the Frasca Food and Wine group, suffered setback after setback trying to open its doors. All of the above pushed the grand opening back at least six months. Then, days before the opening, when media was scheduled for previews of the space and menus, there was an adverse chemical reaction from cleaning agents used to wash the floors—the entire restaurant had to be deep-cleaned, pushing back the opening date yet again.

Tavernetta opened, at long last, on September 13. Eight days later, a kitchen fire closed its doors.

Immediately, the Colorado dining community stepped up to show its support:

Annette’s management team (chef-owner Caroline Glover, general manager Dan Seibel, and sous chef Chelsey Maschhoff) hand-delivered a stack of Annette gift cards for the Tavernetta staff to use while they were out of work. The weekend after the fire, the Señor Bear and Highland Tap and Burger teams sent over lunch.

Joelle Coons and Alan Laws of Law’s Whiskey House hosted a tasting for the team, offsetting the spirits with comfort food like Frito pie. Arcana extended its 40 percent employee discount to all Tavernetta staff during the closure, and en masse brunching ensued.

Last week, T/ACO sent food for staff meal to the restaurant as the team brushed up on training and re-set the space. Pizzeria Locale pies—40 in all—were sent over last Friday, courtesy of Baltz & Co. (Tavernetta’s PR partners), to feed the staff, construction workers, and fire inspectors.

A full-team training session this past Saturday was fueled by Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen, and on Thursday November 9, the day of the grand re-opening, Oak at Fourteenth and Acorn will provide staff meal for the Tavernetta crew so they can focus on their first full day of service since the fire.

“In the weeks that we were closed, our staff was able to bond through experiencing other places and foods that they might not have had before,” says Jodi McAllister, Tavernetta’s assistant general manager. “We are so thankful for the tremendous support that the  community has provided since the first day after this unexpected event, and we can’t wait to reopen and welcome them all in to Tavernetta with open arms!”

Tavernetta will be open for lunch at 11 a.m. tomorrow, and for dinner at 5 p.m. Walk-ins are always welcome, or, click here to make a reservation.

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.