I moved to Denver over 15 years ago via New York, circa Chicago. At the time, I remember telling my then boyfriend (now husband), I wanted to look downtown for an apartment. Being a Colorado native, he assured me no one lived downtown, a sentiment that was true at the time. We settled in Platt Park and I traded city for cute neighborhood business districts that I began to explore. The first time I went to South Broadway/Baker, I was shopping for a very specific diaper bag and had seen a store online that had an adorable baby section in the back with the bag I wanted. Anyone who knows the South Broadway/Baker district understands that it’s likely not the first place you would think of to find a diaper bag. At any rate, I immediately feel in love with the area and felt instantly at home, it’s edginess reminding me of some of our favorite haunts in Chicago and New York. Over the years, we have enjoyed so many restaurants there and were sad to see a favorite of ours, Deluxe (and its dessert partner Delite), close some years back. Luckily a new restauranteur took over and opened Gozo which has fast become a new favorite.
Gozo, named after an island off Sicily, serves predominately Italian food and the wood oven pizzas are a longstanding favorite. The décor is stylish and rustic, with a white-washed brick wall, an open kitchen with a prominent wood oven, and a large bar surrounded by seating. We recently visited with three kids in tow- usually our South Broadway dining experiences are sans kids unless its Punchbowl, but since they are finally of age to sit and eat without being absolute nightmares and they love Italian, we figured it was worth a shot so mom and dad could get a decent meal. We knew we made the right choice when we ordered cocktails and mocktails and everyone was feeling very grown up. I enjoyed my Last Summer cocktail but couldn’t decide if it was a tribute to the recent summer ending, or a previous time when summer was a magical break from life versus just a hotter, sweatier version of being a grown up. At any rate, it was delicious. My husband, Seth, went with their take on an old favorite- the Smoked Old Fashioned featuring a hickory smoked orange, and our kids enjoyed the Cucumber Spritzer and “Up & Up” mocktails.
Fearing unrest amongst the unfed, we started with truffle fries for the kids and the burrata for the adults. Of course, Seth and I ate half the fries and the kids ventured out a bit, mostly to eat the toasted bread with a bit of marmalade like Paddington (which tasted delightful with the actual burrata but that was lost on them). While I had eaten enough of the delicious sweet, creamy, in-house made burrata to last until morning, we decided to plow ahead and order mains. The boys were happy to find that while there is no “kids” menu, they could order a plain pizza or pasta any way they wanted. Seth and I stuck to the menu and I ordered the Butternut Squash Risotto (fully embracing the present fall season now that my cocktail was finished) and Seth ordered his favorite, a pepperoni pizza.
Fresh out of the wood oven, the pepperoni pizza was not your average slice. Featuring sliced pepperoni, roasted pancetta, and fresh cheeses, the pizza was hearty and flavorful. Having eaten my weight in burrata, I was instantly both jealous and relieved to have passed on pizza for the risotto. I love a good risotto and Gozo’s is no exception. Featuring fire-roasted butternut squash with a sage brown butter, each bite was creamy and delicious.
My only regret was wearing high-waisted jeans and sadly we were all too stuffed for dessert. Instead, we wandered around South Broadway a bit, enjoying the window shopping and diversity of shops, food and entertainment the area has to offer. We have heard Gozo has a great brunch too and vow to come back and spend a morning brunching and shopping (as soon as our boys can tolerate that).