Ask just about anyone who knows about this restaurant in the small shopping center on the Northeast corner of 52nd and Sheridan, and you are likely to get a positive response. Loyal customers swear by the food, service and family ambience, and have kept Amici’s on the top of their dining lists for thirty years. After learning that the restaurant was moving in 2009, I stopped in to sample the product before the move.
Upon arriving at the location, I can see why they are moving. It has something to do with those three rules of real estate and business: Location, Location and Location. It does not take much inquiry or a hard look to see that the shopping center location is in trouble. The asphalt needs repair, businesses are either boarded-up or for lease, and the location itself is just not well situated. More than moving, Amici’s appears to be fleeing a sinking ship. The restaurant itself is nice, clean and friendly, but most would not expect what is inside from what is outside.
Inside, it was a blast from the past. The decorations, the furniture, the walls and the menu all reminds one very much of Italian restaurants from the 1970s. Even the prices were almost reminiscent; they are very reasonable. We got a bottle of house Chianti and a 19” pizza with three toppings for $33, including tax. As for the food, this is a “white flour and red sauce” Italian restaurant geared toward the meat-eating public. Even the vegetarian pasta sauce is used to warm the meatballs, thus rendering it inedible to most vegetarians. Nonetheless, if you like big, homemade spaghetti, traditional sauce and a big meatball or sausage with your meal, this is your place. People also rave about the homemade Italian salad dressing, but I did not try it.
We tried the pizza and found it to be good, but not great. The crust is white, and neither thick nor thin, but it has a good flavor and no aftertaste. We were really impressed with the abundance of toppings on our three-topping pizza. They do not scrimp there. We also appreciated that fresh mushrooms were used instead of canned. They taste much better. I would not go out of my way for this pizza, but I would not hesitate to buy one if I were in the neighborhood and hungry for a pie.
Overall, Amici’s scores high and most people will like this restaurant. Their new location is not a great deal better than the old one, but it does offer the opportunity for a new start, including a remodel and they will be joining a neighborhood formerly served by Valente’s, which is now closed. Amici’s has a lot going for it. Only time will tell if that all translates into continued success, but, if loyal customers have any say in the matter, expect Amici’s to be serving up Italian in the Arvada/Wheat Ridge area for many more years to come.