[Updated with comments on breakfast.]
The Apex 5510 apartments at the north end of Spine Rd. mention an “On-site Coffee Shop” on their web site. It’s turned out to be Aperitivo, which calls itself “The Gathering Place: Coffee – Tapas – Bar.” It’s a great addition for Apex 5510 and other Gunbarrel residents, and, alone among Gunbarrel restaurants, it’s good enough to be a destination for people outside the area. (I think the Element Bistro hoped for that, but they fall well short.)
I visited for the first time with my daughter on Friday, and we were impressed. It’s got a comfortable feel, an attentive staff, good food, and reasonable prices. And, unique among the Gunbarrel restaurants I know of, it’s open for breakfast at 7 AM every day. (OK, so is Subway, but not till 8 AM, and only if you want a breakfast sub.)
Here’s the dinner menu:
My daughter had the Italian Potato Schmear and the Trio de Tacos. It’s fusion! Italian, Yiddish (“schmear”), and Mexican. Thai, too: Slow Braised Short Ribs Panang Curry, which I didn’t try. I had the Penne Meatball Marinara instead, which is a big dish, not a tapa. All were excellent.
There’s no beer on tap, but a fine assortment of beer in cans, which is next best. I had the Finkel & Garf Milk Stout, which came all the way from the brewery located about 500 feet to the south, between Aperitivo and Lookout Road. My daughter had a glass of wine. There’s a full bar, too.
The Mexican influence is from executive chef Miguel Vazquez, who I met briefly. I also had a nice conversation with the owner, Edward Vanegas, who you see at left in the photo below. He appears to be hurrying out of the picture, because he was all over the place, seating customers, asking diners about their food, and generally radiating enthusiasm and joy, which is exactly why Aperitivo is so much fun.
Speaking of fun, look at the deal you can get on Sundays if you rush right over without getting dressed:
That’s not all they have on Sundays. Look at the piano in the far corner:
That’s for Brews, Burgers and Blues,
when the Burgers are only $5, from 5 PM to 8:30 PM. On their website they say that anyone is invited to play the piano… I wonder if anyone has? [UPDATE: $5 burgers is what I thought I heard, but, unfortunately, it isn’t true. They’re $11. And when we went back last Sunday evening, we had a fine time. The music was excellent, and so were the burgers.]
One thing I like about Aperitivo is that there’s no large expanse of asphalt in front of it for parking, but that does mean you might have to walk a block from your car. Walking only a block would be called easy parking in downtown Boulder or Denver, but in Gunbarrel some might think of it as inconvenient. Get over it! There are a dozen spaces right in front, not for use by Apex tenants, and lots of on-street parking on Odell Place and Spine Road. But stay off of the Apex internal streets–they’re for permit holders only. (They’re labeled “Spine Rd” on the map above, but there are permit-holder-signs.)
There are three restaurants in Gunbarrel that I go back to over and over: Yurihana, Proto’s, and now Aperitivo. You eat and leave at the first two, but at Aperitivo you might hang out for a while.
I’m looking at my pajamas now and trying to decide if I want to wear them to breakfast. I might have get onto the LL Bean website and find something better. Edward told me that you can’t cheat by sleeping in your clothes.