The 3 Best Italian Grocers in the Denver Metro Area

No matter the dish, when extra effort is put into sourcing the highest quality ingredients, your taste buds — and ego — will be heavily satisfied, especially when it comes to Italian cooking. However, now and again, those looking to replicate classic Italian recipes like cacio e pepe or carbonara can come across a peculiar cut of meat or an odd-looking cheese. When this moment arises, especially if you are trying to cook your way through The Essentials of Italian Cooking — like me — this is the perfect time to head to one of Denver’s Italian markets. While the Denver Metro Area has several Italian markets to choose from, below are a few of our favorites. So, no matter if you are searching for a specialty pasta, artisanal butchered meat or that odd cheese to make your cacio e pepe, the three markets below have you covered.

Lou’s Italian Specialties

Photo by Brittni Bell Photo

Where: 3357 N Downing St, Denver

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

The Lowdown: Nestled in a unique triangular building just off Downing Street, Lou’s Italian Specialties is the perfect place to gather unique ingredients for a special Italian meal. Inside, customers can find classic Italian pantry staples: pasta, olive oil, cheese, cured meats and much more guaranteed to make the next at-home Italian meal memorable. However, Lou’s doesn’t just stop at pantry goods. The funky triangular building also doubles as an incredible sandwich shop rooted in Italian deliciousness. Trust us, once the smell of bread, and the savoriness of cured meats, wafts into the nostrils, the thought of bailing on making dinner might arise — don’t say we didn’t warn you. This half-market and half-sandwich shop is the third concept stemming from one of Denver’s most popular restaurateurs, Joshua Pollack. What started as an idea to recreate childhood meals is now coming full circle with Lou’s Italian Specialties. So whether looking for a few ingredients, a delicious lunch or even a full-fledged catered Italian dinner, Lou’s Italian Specialties covers all the bases. If making it into the Lou’s during their regular business hours is not in the cards, remember that you can always place an order on their website.

READ: 10 Best Denver Restaurants for Italian Food

il porcellino salumi

il porcellino salumi denver

Photo by Glenn Ross

Where: 4324 W 41st Ave, Denver

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Lowdown: High-quality cured meats are the cornerstone of many Italian meals. From duck prosciutto, guanciale and artisanal bacon, if a recipe calls for cured meats, it is time to head to a Denver staple, Il porcellino salumi. Crafted with sustainably raised heritage pigs and processed in-house, Il porcellino salumi exceeds expectations in terms of flavor and charm. Don’t believe us? Ask Guy Fieri, the mayor of flavor town. Since the inception of Il porcellino salumi in 2015, the boutique salumi shop has come a long way. While Bill Miner (chef and owner) and his team believed they had a fantastic product from the beginning, winning both the Good Food Award (2017, 2019, 2021) and Charcuterie Masters (2018, 2020) award confirmed their beliefs. Il porcellino salumi now operates with a USDA-approved facility situated in the Roaring Fork Valley to keep up with the surge in demand. Yet it continues to push the envelope when it comes to what a small salumi shop can be at a community and regional level. However, even with the growth and success of the brand, Miner never strayed away from his initial core values. Work with ethically raised meat and sustainable ingredients and build off the tried and true practices of the old world.

Old Fashioned Italian Deli

Photo by Brittni Bell Photo

Where: 395 W. Littleton Blvd. unit 1A, Littleton

Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 3:30  p.m.

The Lowdown: For those looking for classic Italian fare without any leg work, the Old Fashioned Italian Deli – OFID if you want to feel local – is a saving grace. Family-owned and operated since 1986, the Old Fashioned Italian Deli has been a lunch and dinner staple for many throughout the years. Serving up classic Italian sandwiches like an Italian Sausage Sandwich and an Old Fashioned Italian Club — all on their house-made bread — this charming deli is an excellent place to head when Italian food is on the mind, but cooking isn’t. However, if you get the urge to substitute ingredients, don’t. The Old Fashioned Italian Deli politely asks customers for no substitutions on their menu items. This makes sense. For a deli that’s been in business for over 30 years, it is probably safe to assume they know what they are doing. With over 50 sandwich options and several pasta salads to choose from, whatever you order will be delicious.