Gozo Denver: Mediterranean fare with flair
A warm, friendly South Broadway venue for your next business drink
The Deets: Gozo
Locale/Address: 30 S. Broadway, Denver
Best Bites: Seafood Stew
Deals on Drinks: Weekdays until 6 p.m., half off rail drinks, draught beer; $3 off featured cocktails; all wine by the glass
Parking (1 – 4): 2
Don’t be put off by Gozo’s high-ceilinged, hipster vibe; this is a warm place with plenty of staff, making a quick lunch or happy hour visit graceful and satisfying.
Named after a Mediterranean island, Gozo owner Frank Jolley and his partner, Dominic Valenti, offer rustic fare loaded with seafood and meat, vegetables and robust sauces. This is very much a neighborhood restaurant, strategically placed on South Broadway Street to encourage Baker neighborhood foot traffic and all others traveling the busy South Broadway byway.
Lunchtime (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) brought a meatball, a truffled egg salad and a pork shoulder sandwich to our table. The pork is slow-cooked and tender and the pork meatball is ample, aromatic and rich in mozzarella and tomato. I’m from New Orleans and forever dismissive of “Denver” seafood, but Gozo’s seafood stew is buoyantly filled with the daily catch, made with vegetables and a tomato-fennel broth.
A sweet, spacious, L-shaped bar sits at the back of the open-concept dining room and the white-oak oven serves as the dining room’s centerpiece and lynchpin for the inviting nature of the full space.
Get a table by the South Broadway Street garage-front window or – perhaps the best seat in the house – snuggle up to the bar and dive into one of the Italian or Spanish wines. Top it off with the Gozo Platter, a daily selection of cured meats and cheeses with mostarda, cornichons and grilled bread.
We came in at rush-hour, when it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic (and in the thick of a snowstorm). Plenty of others had the same idea we did: Get out of traffic, return some mission-critical work emails – and get a nosh and a drink. We enjoyed quick service, the warmth of the bar, and our wine glasses never emptied.
Parking karma can and usually does deliver an open spot along the long line of meters out front and at both a lunch and early evening visit, I did not walk more than a block. It is helpful that Security Service Bank’s free public parking lot is but a few steps away at the corner of Archer and South Broadway.
A group business lunch or after-work pow-wow is graciously accommodated here, mostly because of the staff. They tend to and replenish without being intrusive. They’re friendly, low-key and never intrusive, but it’s the ragus, charred pizzas and tapas-like plates that lend this neighborhood place its charm.