Handmade dough, elevated cocktails made with house tinctures and produce sourced from local farms, all at an approachable price — these qualities embody Viàle on Colorado Boulevard. And the location is just as unexpected as the flavors that this petite family-owned Italian eatery is serving up.  You may have driven down one of Denver’s largest streets hundreds of times without realizing that just past Old Chicago and just before Big 5 Sporting Goods sits this eatery. From locally harvested tomatoes to Colorado made meats and handmade pasta, Viàle is both authentic and unassuming and their new summer menu shows the best of those qualities.

“The summer menu is a bit more Northern Italian, cleaner and more refined. We’ve had the burrata on the menu since the beginning but the burrata pizza is new,” explained owner Dan Dunne. “The local tomatoes are from Lyons, that one ingredient just changed everything.  And we have a woman here who makes our pizza dough. She makes them perfect every single time.”

Birthed from a love for pizza, Dunne and his wife Erica opened Viàle nearly one year ago with aspirations to provide approachable and authentic Italian food for their community. Since, they’ve picked up executive chef Darren Pusateri, formerly of The Squeaky Bean and award-winning Frasca

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“I was hesitant at first and then after three or four meetings, it clicked,” explained Pusateri. “Even before working here I came in with my kids one night, I have two boys and was blown away with the simplicity and attention to detail. I was like wow, these people are doing so many things right already and they want me to come in and give some different ideas.”

READ: 10 Best Denver Restuarants for Italian Food

And that’s exactly what he did. From farm fresh cheeses to Front Range steaks and locally baked ciabatta, Viàle and chef Pusateri have only continued to elevate since opening. Their menu is a testament to that. With dishes like Mussels Classico ($13) with locally sourced Italian sausage, white wine and shallots to shrimp scampi ($18) with lemon and their new summer pizza ($15) topped with locally grown tomatoes and a balsamic reduction — the team is keeping quality approachable. And that approachable quality extends past the kitchen. Viàle isn’t on any list for the cities best bars and you certainly won’t see them while flipping through the Denver Passport, but this small space is shaking up some cocktails worth noticing.

“All of these cocktails are classics, we just did a little bit of a twist on them,” explained bar manager and bartender Alex Curry. “This is my twist on a French 75. It’s made with Dancing Pines Gin, smoked orange bitters, rose water simple syrup and I top that with a sparkling Italian rose. It has a really nice floral effervescence to it. And we decided these new additions with trial and error if people like them and we get good feedback those are the ones that we keep. 

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From their play on a French 75 to an Italian twist on a Manhattan and the Squeeze the Day ($12) with citrus vodka, Sicilian lemon white balsamic and prosecco — the team at Viàle, kitchen to bar, is raising the bar on Colorado Boulevard and Denver, as a whole.

You can take a bite from their new menu or simply kick back with a great drink here 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and 5 p.m. to  9 p.m. Sunday. Viàle is located at 1390 South Colorado Boulevard, Suite 190, Denver — and you can check out its full menus here. 

All photos by Rebecca Grant.