Tidings of Comfort Food

By John Lehndorff

A NEW ITALIAN HOTSPOT joins south metro restaurants dishing festive feasts, tastings, classes and seasonal sweets 

Photo courtesy Oliver’s Italian

Let’s raise a toast to December, the tastiest 31 days of every year. No other month of the year is home to so many meals and festivities with family and friends. 

During this season, diners are more than ready to dress up and go to restaurants for those annual get-togethers. From Hanukkah through New Year’s Eve, south metro restaurants are breaking out the tinsel, lights, and menus of holiday martinis, take-home dinners, gift-making classes and parties, all designed to light up the darkest, shortest days of winter.

Local diners are already unwrapping an early holiday gift with the recent opening of Oliver’s Italian in Greenwood Village. The new eatery is the long-simmering brainchild of Sean Huggard, owner of Blue Island Oyster Bar & Seafood in Cherry Creek and Lone Tree. 

Comfortably situated between a neighborhood red sauce joint and a high-end trattoria, Oliver’s Italian has an airy, comfortable dining area where you can have a big meal with a big wine or just a twice-baked, Roman-style pizza with a glass of pinot grigio, according to Huggard.

Photos courtesy Oliver’s Italian

“We wanted to create an escape to this romantic idea of Italy we have in our minds. You know, the one where everybody is good-looking, six feet tall, skinny and walking around with a martini,” he says. 

Huggard is not Italian by birth but grew up in Boston, immersed in the local Italian-American food culture. “I’ve always liked really great American-Italian restaurants. That is where my passion for cooking started,” he says.  

When he initially lived in north Denver, he discovered the city’s iconic Italian classics—from Gaetano’s to the now-shuttered Pagliacci’s and Patsy’s—and got a taste for the elaborate holiday traditions at American-Italian eateries. 

Photo courtesy Oliver’s Italian

Oliver’s inaugural menu features all the classic Italian dishes ranging from chicken Parmesan to salmon with butternut squash risotto. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, but we try to do everything the right way,” Huggard says.

Since his family owns an oyster farm, seafood figures prominently. “We serve a great pasta bowl with white sauce and octopus, mussels, clams, shrimp and calamari,” Huggard says.

Oliver’s hopes to make the yuletide merry for diners with traditional Italian seafood dishes as well as classic desserts, including an authentic tiramisu. The restaurant will be open Christmas Eve and then host toasts during its first New Year’s Eve bash. 

“We finally have a lot of space at Oliver’s to gang tables together so we can seat large family groups,” Huggard says.

Photo courtesy Oliver’s Italian

Oliver’s Italian
4950 S Yosemite St. F3
Greenwood Village


That holiday spirit is embraced by these south metro restaurants dishing options for celebrating everything from Hanukkah through New Year’s Day. 

Photo courtesy Uncorked Kitchen & Wine Bar

Uncorked Kitchen & Wine Bar 


This Centennial destination boasts a full menu of December offerings. Small groups can gather at Uncorked’s bar for wine flights paired with small plates of duck confit cavatelli or pork belly flatbread. Seasonal cocktails range from a spiced apple cider mule to a black coffee Manhattan. 

The Uncorked cooking school offers a series of cool classes this month, including sparkling fortified and dessert wines (December 14); parents and kids candy gift-making (December 16); tamales (December 23); and make and take charcuterie (December 30).

Photos courtesy of Perry’s Steak House

Perry’s Steak House


To celebrate at home, Perry’s Steak House is preparing two takeout options, the prime rib feast, as well as a holiday bundle: one 18-ounce pork chop, one 6-ounce filet mignon and au gratin potatoes with steak butter and seasoning. 

At the Lone Tree restaurant, diners can get jolly with a holiday mini martini trio flight. Perry’s will serve a Christmas Eve three-course, prix fixe meal hosted by a special guest: Santa Claus.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood


The Greenwood Village fine-dining destination will be decked out for the season, serving steak and seaafood on Christmas Eve. On New Year’s Eve, Eddie V’s hosts a party with live music and bubby toasts.

Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar


As a holiday gift to diners, Hapa has extended its happy hours, now 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. daily. The restaurant will be open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  

ViewHouse Centennial


ViewHouse is open for a holiday brunch buffet
on Christmas Day with a roster of unique
holiday beverages.

Treats for Every Night of Hannukah

Hannukah is celebrated this year from December 7 to 15. The following Denver restaurants, bakeries and delis offer traditional dishes, whether brisket, latkes and kugel or a loaf of challah and a dozen rugelach.

The Bagel Deli & Restaurant bageldeli.com

Zaidy’s Deli zaidysdeli.com

Rosenberg’s Kosher rosenbergskosher.com

East Side Kosher Deli eastsidekosherdeli.com

New York Deli News nydelinews.com

Open on Christmas Day 

Venice Ristorante, Greenwood Village

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse,
Greenwood Village delfriscos.com

Fogo de Chao, Lone Tree fogodechao.com 

Urban Village Grill, Lone Tree urbanvillagegrill.com

Hilton Denver Inverness, Englewood theinvernessdenver.com

Sesame Chicken for Christmas Dinner

Eating Chinese food on Christmas Day is a long-established and revered tradition for many Americans—especially Jewish-American families. The cherished ritual may have begun in big cities because Chinese eateries were often the only restaurants open on Christmas Day. 

Here are some south metro destinations that will be open to satisfy the family’s need for moo shu pork and fried rice.

Hong Kong Station
, Centennial

John Holly’s Asian Bistro, Lone Tree johnhollysasianbistro.com

East Moon Asian Bistro, Centennial

NBX Asian Cuisine, Lone Tree

A Word on Stuffing Stockings

If you’re giving restaurant gift cards this year, go the extra mile to show you care. Anybody can grab a safe, easy chain restaurant gift card at the supermarket. Instead, give a gift in good taste and wrap cards from your favorite local independent eateries.