What: Gozo // Kitchen, Wine, Cocktails
Where: 30 South Broadway, Denver
Pro: Gozo is a much-welcomed addition to the South Broadway area. With a delectable rustic inspired menu and a relaxed, unpretentious attitude, this hip new eatery seamlessly integrates itself into SoBo (South Broadway).
Con: There is a slight trend of over-saltiness in several of its dishes, but typically the quality of the food overshadows the issue.
Embedded in a row of vintage stores and dive bars is 30 South Broadway, a matte, black building that houses one of Baker’s newest additions, Gozo. The self-proclaimed “neighborhood joint” is a new restaurant focused on Spanish and Italian rustic dining. With roots in Napa, the project with a high pedigree seems like an unlikely pairing to the grittier South Broadway area. But with a low-key vibe and a strong dedication to creating a welcoming spot for locals to congregate, co-owners Dominic Valenti and Frank Jolley have been able to blend themselves into the SoBo scene, and business seems to be booming:
“Our phone has been ringing off the hook. We literally bought a new phone,” Jolley said with a slight grin. “The neighborhood has been very supportive.”
“It’s a connotation of joy…That is Gozo.”- Frank Jolley, Owner.
Gozo’s success is probably due in part to its wonderful food and even better philosophy… Gozo, the restaurant’s name despite its lack of signage, has a dual meaning. Jolley explained that the name first represents the Maltese island which hosts of a multitude of cultures from all over the the Mediterranean, similar to the restaurant. But the name also represents a concept. The word, Jolley explained, ” Is a connotation of joy. It’s an untranslatable word but the closest thing we can say is a joyful moment. It happens a lot in Nappa, when the sun is shining, you have a glass of wine and people are enjoying themselves… That is Gozo. ”
The food represents this concept because everything is meant to be simple, satisfying and will definitely put a smile on your face. I particularly enjoyed the meatballs and polenta. The rich, creamy grits were perfectly prepared and weighed well with the superbly seasoned meatballs. It was a simple plate, but well executed. The braised short rib was also a delightfully decadent and delicious dish, but it was a tad heavy on the salt, a trait that can sometimes pop up throughout its menu. But lighter options, like the beet salad laid in goat cheese puree, are earthy and well-balanced. With larger proportions, many items are filling, even if you choose a salad like the shaved Brussel sprouts salad, made with egg and macaroon almond.
Overall Gozo is a great addition to the neighborhood. With quality food and quality people, I can’t imagine this place going anywhere anytime soon. So the next time you’re in SoBo make sure to grab a seat. Maybe if the sun is shining just right, and you’re in good company, a moment of gozo just might strike you.
Photography by Caitlin Savage