Salati Italian Street Food by
He calls it a “a labor of love,” referring to the October opening of Salati Italian Street Food in Northfield. It started with love, too, when restauranteur T.C. Clark and his wife went to his homeland, Italy, for their honeymoon. They encountered a lot of street food, sold off of carts or out of little huts where “a little Italian grandma would slide open a window and, boom, the smell would hit you,” recalls Clark. One street food, the piadina, stood out to the couple. Flat bread thrown onto a hot stone bubbled up before being wrapped around meats, cheeses, vegetables and sauces. The couple was hooked and wanted to bring the idea back to Colorado.
Besides being delicious, Clark really loved the idea of walking up to a vendor and getting authentic, fresh food they could customize with the ingredients they wanted. Despite running Milo’s, a sports bar in South Denver, Clark couldn’t get the idea out of his head of opening a place based on the concept of “Salati,”slang for “savory.” To Clark, that meant food that is enjoyed as it is seen, heard and tasted.
To bring that full experience to life, Clark hired his Culinary Director, Shahin Afshanian Campuzano, who has experience cooking all over the world. “I told him ‘here’s the concept but you’re a classically-trained chef. You’re going to get to play and bring your skill set to Salati’ and he has, he’s amazing,” says Clark.
During the day, one side of Salati focuses on express meals where diners can choose from a piadina bread, pasta or salad base, adding a protein (including a pork porchetta which has had 32 hours of preparation), sauces or dressings and vegetable additions. Come evening, Salati becomes something more. While diners can still take advantage of the express side, they can also relax in the lounge area with a full bar and menu of Italian style tapas, designed to be shared.
The idea of communal food where people would have a drink, share food and be together came from Clark’s childhood. “There were huge tables, everyone standing around eating, waving their arms in the air, being Italians, having a good time, eating good food…that was my family,” says Clark.
While the burgeoning development of the Northfield area was a big draw to Clark in locating the first Salati (he hopes to open more locations around the Metro Denver area), it was really the broad-ranging demographics that were the appeal. Clark says, “We’ve met young kids to retirees and they’ve welcomed us with open arms. It has been over-the-top unexpected but really appreciated.”
SALATI ITALIAN STREET FOOD NOW OPEN IN NORTHFIELD STAPLETON
Rotisserie chicken and porchetta.
Salati means savory or salted in Italian, and a new eatery called Salati Italian Street Food is bringing savory Mediterranean bites to Northfield Stapleton. Salati opened today at 11 a.m. (in the space that was formerly Euro Cafe) with a concept built around piadina and other street fare that owner TC Clark found while on his honeymoon in Italy.
Clark already owns and operates Milo’s Sports Tavern at the corner of Evans Avenue and South Monaco Parkway, but Salati is quite a departure from the vibe at his laid-back, all-American neighborhood bar. His new place, nestled into the Northfield outdoor mall, also has a full bar, but service is built on the fast-casual model and the menu ranges far from sports-bar fare. Instead, culinary director Shahin Afsharian Campuzano has created a menu based on Clark’s vision, encompassing roasted meats, flatbread sandwiches and other street food of Italy, like barbajuan (a type of fried ravioli native to the area where France and Italy meet), arancini, and involtini.
The piadina, pasta and salads can be topped with proteins ranging from grilled sausage or mahi mahi to roast vegetables and deli meats.The bar program is highlighted with a range of local craft beers. Salati is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. Keep reading for more photos from opening day.
Hand-tossed piadina flatbread.
Salati Italian Street Food Opens in Northfield
No one does flatbread quite like the Italians, and the piadinas at the newly opened Salati Italian Street Food in Northfield are no exception. Piadinas, which means “savory” in Italian, are softer, chewier cousins of pita and they work beautifully as bookends to a satisfying sandwich. T.C. Clark, the owner of Salati (as well as Milos Sports Tavern in Denver) fell in love with the sandwiches in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Determined to bring the concept back to the States, he launched the fast-casual Salati.
Diners customize their sandwiches by choosing from seven proteins including grilled skirt steak, rosemary chicken, and pork porchetta; adding sides such as cheese and veggies; and finishing with up to two different sauces. My favorite combination (pictured) is grilled steak with roasted veggies, fresh tomato, spinach, arugula, and fresh mozzarella topped with Alfredo and basil pesto.
Build-your-own salads and pastas round out the menu, along with wines, craft beers, and cocktails. Salati brings something new to Northfield—and it might just be what you need fuel up for holiday shopping.
8270 Northfield Blvd. #1485, 303-307-1695