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Side Dish: Meet Ficco's Little Italy 

Luigi, meet Ficco

The former Old Heidelberg Pastry Shop at 1105 S. Tejon St. became Ficco's Little Italy (434-7868) last week. Co-owner Mel Glyman says the renovated space serves classic Italian fare prepared by chef and co-owner Nicole Ficco.

Ficco, a Springs native, learned to cook from her Sicilian grandmother, and this is her first restaurant endeavor. Her speciality dishes include Nani's Lasagna and an Italian meatball sub, which highlights homemade bread and from-scratch ingredients. Ficco also makes her own cannoli, tiramisu and other desserts, and uses Denver-based Polidori Sausage products. Her single menu tops out around $10.95 and is served between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.

"We wanted to make it affordable," says Glyman, who grew up around his family's bakeries and restaurants in Chicago. When asked about the obvious competition from half-century-old Luigi's a block up the street, Glyman notes the price differential and the fact that Luigi's is only open for dinner.

Parties in a bunch

Maggie Mae's has company once again at 2405 E. Pikes Peak Ave., in the form of Twisted Knickers Pub (633-1400). Business owner Steve Bailey signed on two months ago to run the space that, in its last incarnation, was called Maggie's Pub.

Maggie Mae's still provides food for the pub — burgers, sandwiches, Tex-Mex staples — but Bailey has overhauled the "speakeasy-style jazz bar" (as the former occupant called it) and turned it more into a comfortable, neighborhood bar with big TVs for sports and live music on Fridays. Drink selections are fairly standard, but he hopes to expand his tequila offerings in particular.

As for the name, he says he was just "name-storming" to find something catchy, and that "a lot of people like it."

(Bio)dynamic offerings

As wine interest piques around the holidays for easy gift-giving, Queen Liquor (1744 W. Uintah St., 475-1744) continues to enjoy strong public interest in its ever-expanding selection of biodynamic, sustainable and organic wines.

Owner Kit Abrams says she's made a push in the last few years, with the help of local distributors from outfits like Denver-based Natural Wine Company, to grow the line, which now comprises around 15 to 20 percent of her total wine offerings.

"They are consistently great wines," she says. "For people who are trying to invite more naturalness into their lifestyle, they feel good about participating in stewardship of the land ... and there are differences when [the wineries] aren't adding extra sulfites — it's less problematic for people with [sulfite] issues."

Abrams also says she remains mindful of price points, and that many of these wines are available for $10 to $15.

  • Also: Earth-friendly wines

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