What: Spuntino

Where: 2639 W 32nd Ave  Denver, CO 80211

When: Happy Hour is currently available Thursdays and Fridays from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. Beginning on November 12, happy hour will be offered Tuesday-Friday from 5:00 to 6:30 pm.

Don’t Miss: Seasonal cocktails for $5 each. Top food items include the house-made porchetta ($5) and any of the bruschetta ($2.50 each)

I have to confess that I already knew I was going to love Spuntino’s happy hour before I walked in the door. I love most everything about the quirky Loho Italian restaurant owned and operated by Chef John Broening and Pastry Chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom. I’m not alone in my admiration as Spuntino has collected quite a few of the best dining awards in Denver. Fortunately for all the gourmet groupies out there, after finally receiving their liquor license Spuntino is now offering happy hour.

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House-made porchetta, All photos by Jason Barber

Happy hour is only available at the newly renovated bar, but this puts you in the center of the restaurant’s action. Spuntino’s interior is warm and inviting, a blend of rustic Italian wood pieces and modern metal accents. Once you grab a seat you’ll notice that the happy hour menu is short and sweet. Just two seasonal cocktails, two house wines, and two beers. What Spuntino lacks in quantity they most certainly make up in quality. The cocktails will change seasonally, but on my visit they offered the Bourbonator ($5), a well-balanced whiskey and basil cocktail, and the Pear Martini ($5), a not-too-sweet vodka drink mixed with elderflower liqueur, ruby port, St. Germaine, and pear puree. Both drinks proved that Spuntino’s liquor license was worth the wait. The red and white house wine ($5) will change frequently, but based on my samples they will likely be solid, drinkable wines.

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Pear Martini, all photos by Jason Barber

Simplicity continues with Spuntino’s happy hour food. The house-made porchetta is a must-order item. At its best, porchetta is a savory, fatty Italian pork that should melt it in your mouth with each bite. Spuntino doesn’t disappoint. It’s served with delicious mustard and toast grilled to perfection. Like most restaurants, I was tempted to ask for more toast as the healthy serving of porchetta warranted more than two pieces of bread. If you’re sharing the porchetta with friends this would be necessary. Fortunately, the porchetta was so good I didn’t mind eating it with a fork, but a bit more toast would have been nice. The house marinated olives ($5) are also a good pick, but Spuntino’s bruschetta is great. They offer three types: prosciutto & membrillo, artichoke & marscapone, and gorgonzola & honey. My favorite was definitely the gorgonzola. This bruschetta was delicate and had just the right amount of blue, not so overpowering that it overwhelmed any other flavors. The classic pairing with honey tasted just right, despite being something that is on many menus in Denver.

Spuntino is in my neighborhood, but even if it wasn’t I would make the trek across town. The food is simple, elegantly prepared, and well-executed from start to finish. This is not happy hour food that you can make a meal out of and I can guarantee you’ll be tempted to try some of the main dinner items as you watch the bustling kitchen from your perch at the bar. If you stray off the happy hour menu, make sure to try dessert. Yasmin’s pastries (especially the chocolate sea salt caramel tart) are absolutely divine. But with well-balanced cocktails, great small plates, and an inviting ambiance, Spuntino proves that like everything else, they do happy hour well too.

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