Fresh, local ingredients, homemade pasta and revamped family recipes are the order of the day at this community-centered Italian eatery.Sometimes it's easy to forget that all food used to be locally sourced, organically grown, sustainably harvested and prepared from scratch. Luckily, that bit of history isn't lost on Ryan DiFranco, whose adherence to those principles makes his Italian eatery entirely unique. He gets most of his ingredients from one of two dozen Colorado farms, dairies, bakeries and other suppliers, which means that meatball sub you're devouring? The beef, tomatoes, basil, bread and even cheese all came from the Centennial State. The same goes for the homemade, hand-rolled fettuccine in a light prosciutto vodka sauce with succulent Colorado Proud tomatoes. Yup, everything that comes to the table here sprung to life fresh in the kitchen, which, if we haven't made it clear, crafts updated takes on Sicilian family recipes.
With its humble beginnings as a booth at the Highland Farmers' Market selling locavore-friendly gourmet pasta sauces, DiFranco's is embedded in the community, which means no wonder it's quickly becoming a neighborhood favorite. And with its Certifiably Green Denver status, diners know everything is certifiably fresh. Even more community spirit can be found in the restaurant's decor. We're especially fans of the lime green community table, which looks like it was stretched out on the kitchen's pasta press. Big enough to hold a bunch of new friends, what's even cooler is what's on the table: simple, well-executed dishes. It's an idea that would've made Ryan's great-grandmother proud—delish, Italian style.
Note: DiFranco's has convenient, free parking underneath the building. Everyone's down with that.
Penne with vodka sauce, $10
Meatball and basil sub, $9
Fettuccine with spicy tomato sauce, $9
Hours: Monday - Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.