The Edgewater Inn: Last of the Continuously-Operated/Owned by the Same Family, Italian Restaurants in The (Near What Used to be Denver’s Little Italy) Hood

[Some links have been removed or changed since The Edgewater’s website was changed – 2014]
UPDATE 2014: The Edgewater is now serving Sweet Potato Fries

The Edgewater Inn
5302 W 25th Ave
Edgewater, CO 80214
(303) 237-3524

The Edgewater Inn
The Edgewater Inn

Every so often I have a need to drive across town to the soothing neighborhood of Edgewater across from *Sloan’s Lake. The lake was dredged some time back, and surrounded by (cleaned-up) verdant Sloan’s Lake Park, it’s a beautiful spot. The view across the lake, from Sheridan to the east, is one of the best views of Denver’s skyline. At night the reflections of downtown building lights paint the water – even though the lake is miles from downtown Denver. I know there’s an explanation for that phenomenon, something about bending light waves. Whatever the science, the view is drop-dead gorgeous.

Sloan's Lake at Edgewater, Photo by radare
Sloan’s Lake at Edgewater, Photo by radare

[The Edgewater’s website was changed, here’s the new link: The Edgewater Inn’s Official Website

When one first enters the City of Edgewater, the instant vibe is Mayberryesque, however, it’s changing fast.

At the extreme north-west end of the lake, at 25th Ave & Sheridan Boulevard, through the overhead sign (Edgewater) declaring its boundary, down a block and on the left, you’ll find a fairly plain building with green awnings and a HOWDY PAISANO sign on the east wall. This is The Edgewater Inn.

From The Edge’s first Website: The Edgewater Inn is a small pizza tavern in the heart of Edgewater, and for many years been[sic] one of the highlights of the town. The Inn, most famous for its pizzas and family atmosphere, has graced the neighborhood for over fifty years. The owners, Ben and Josephine DiPietro started the business back in 1953. The Inn, now located on the southwest corner of 25th Avenue and Ames was initially located at the building due west of it’s present address. In 1957, the building next door went up for sale. The buildings previous occupant, the post office, moved into a newer quarters. Ben and Josephine purchased the lease and began their work. They realized they wanted to turn their 3.2 bar into a regular bar. To accomplish this task, many hours of hard work were required. Ben and Josephine had to petition everyone in the neighborhood, meaning they had to go to every household to ask the residents if they were or were no[sic] in favor of a bar going into the community. This amounted to a total of 96 blocks, this was no easy task. They did however succeed in getting enough signatures and community support to acquire a license.”

Edgewater Inn Dining Room

Edgewater Inn Dining Room

Close, but never quite in the heart of Denver’s Little Italy, The Edgewater was a bit too far west. The Bonnie Brae Tavern (DU area), Romano’s in Littleton and several others around Denver are good restaurants, just not in the epicenter of Denver’s Little Italy, which pretty much hugged the area bounded by 32nd Avenue to 46th Avenue and Broadway to Zuni streets. There were a half-dozen-plus red-sauce places within a mere 2-mile stretch along 38th Avenue, and down connecting side streets of the Little Italy area, many within just a few blocks of each other. Longo’s Subway Tavern (shuttered in 2012,) Gaetano’s (new corporate owner) and Carl’s Pizza (new owners) were on 38th Avenue. R. Carbone’s Pizza (now Lechuga’s) and The Alpine Inn (John “Skip” LaGuardia’s tavern – long closed) shared Tejon Street with Gaetano’s. Patsy’s Inn is still on 35th and Navajo (family-member of the founder is the current owner, however, there have been non-family owners.) Little Pepina’s was at 34th and Osage St (the building stands – soon to be an Asian restaurant,) Pagliacci’s was at 33rd and Osage (raised last year.) Three Sons was located at 44th and Federal ( 3-sons moved to Arvada,) Ernie’s Pizza Bar was at 44th and Elliot (new corporate owners,) and Carbone’s Sausage Market and Deli (closed) was catty-corner to the Subway, across 38th. I’m getting dizzytized.

Perhaps by default, The Edgewater has worked it’s way up the list and is the last of it’s kind left standing. To the folks from the neighborhood, The Edge is an institution. The Edgewater Inn, The Subway Tavern and The Bonnie Brae Tavern were the three premiere Denver pizza joints for years – before NY Pizza came to town. In fact, Longo’s Subway Tavern boasted about installing the first pizza oven in Denver. Ernie’s Pizza Bar was in a quieter neighborhood.

I’ve been going to The Edgewater for years – mostly for an 18 oz.? goblet of beer. The original owner Ben DiPietro usually had a long cigar protruding from the corner of his mouth.

The late Ben Dipietro, sans cigar
The late Ben Dipietro, sans cigar

Recently, I had a decent house salad. The spaghetti is acceptable (other pastas on the menu,) a bargain for about $7.50 including salad and bread. The pizza and calzones (canolis) are unmistakably Colorado style – sort of a hard, crunchy crust. The calzone I had was different. I’m a NY Pizza fan, so… Also on the menu: appetizers, including fried-ravioli, wings and more, salads, and classic meatball and sausage sandwiches served with marinara.

OK, the food is Edgewater/Denver style. It’s not California cuisine or NY fine-dining, so get over it – this is bar food.  The Edgewater is still a good watering hole, reminiscent of a coastal bar. Well, it is sort of on the coast, the coast of Sloan’s Lake. There seems to be a new “feel” to the restaurant. Next time I’ll order something else to see if the food has been elevated.

In naming more of the good qualities of this restaurant, one would have to mention the cleanliness, the clever U-shaped bar, the copper Moscow Mule mugs hanging like relics from bar racks (the Edge offers premium Vodka Mules,) and gracious, friendly and attractive waitresses. These women have perfected the art of public relations.

The restaurant/bar is one, in other words the restaurant tables surround the perimeter of the bar. The exception being the new covered patio addition, which is a bit different. The main dining/bar area has a number of very cozy booths nestled up against quality, rich woods. The only thing I’d change is the worn, grey veneer of the lower bar. Wood matching the window trim would complete the interior.

From the Neighborhood Gazette
“As the reputation of the Edgewater Inn grew, it was rumored that high ranking Denver police officials would usher celebrities like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra into the Inn after hours. Frank was said to have proclaimed that the Edgewater Inn had the best pizza in Denver.” 

“Ben along with Josephine worked and scrimped and saved every penny possible for the first 11 years of their marriage. Ben was in the refrigeration business. Not many people know this but he was the innovator of the refrigerated beer line system. This system is used by virtually all restaurants and bars to this day”. Read more…

“In 1978 Ben was asked by the Coors brothers (who frequented the Edgewater Inn often) if he would agree to be featured in the first, nation wide, Coors Light print media promotion. Of course he said yes, as that was quite an honor. This is the picture that appeared in Coors Light ads all across the United States”.

I’m all for supporting this Edgewater/Denver institution.

Happy Hour specials! Customers can park across the street in The Edgewater’s lot.

UPDATE February 20, 2014: The EDGE is now serving killer sweet-potato fries.

Say hello to Sam – the anchor bartender.

*Doing some research years ago I ran into some documents suggesting that the lake and park were simply called Sloan Lake and Sloan Lake Park, rather than Sloan’s.

William Carbone wrote this story for LasVegasBuffetClub.Com.
Thanks to Claudia Carbone for edits

The Edgewater Inn is a TrueItalianTable recomended authentic Italian restaurant.


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4 Comments

  1. This article makes me want to go for some old-school Italian food and atmosphere.

  2. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the site is really
    good.


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