Denver Dining of Yore: Boggio’s Parisienne Rotisserie
Boggio’s Parisienne Rotisserie was advertised in the 1928 Denver city directory as an establishment suited “for those who appreciate the refinements in cooking and service.”
It turns out many Denverites appreciated these refinements. The Parisienne Rotisserie opened around 1924, moved from 1721 California Street to 1734 Tremont in 1929, and remained in operation until 1953.
The restaurant’s founder, Natale Boggio, was an immigrant from the northern Italian city of Biella. Born on December 25 in the early 1890s, he was aptly named “Natale”— the Italian word for “Christmas.” According to a ship’s manifest available on Ancestry Library Edition, Natale arrived in New York City on March 7, 1914. In 1916, he married his wife, Louise Camusso, in New York City, and they moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where Natale worked as a waiter. The couple and their two young sons likely moved to Denver in late 1920.
The Parisienne Rotisserie was popular with Denver’s high society as well as visiting celebrities like Rock Hudson, Jack Dempsey, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby. It boasted a “complete line of domestic wines and Champagne” and served multi-course meals that included hors d'oeuvres like marinated herring, tomato juice, or crabmeat cocktail; entrees such as of Long Island duckling with sage dressing and spiced crabapple or Veal Scaloppine ala Marasala; desserts including pies, Spumoni or grapefruit; and a cheese course with choice of Roquefort, Camembert, Gorgonzola, or Liederkranz.
Natale called himself “the restaurant man with a million friends.” These friends included strangers in need. The Italian Government awarded Natale the Star of Italian Solidarity for sending food and clothing to Italians during World War II.
In late July 1952, Natale Boggio was sued for $112,364 for overcharging restaurant customers on food and drinks. The suit was filed by the director of the Colorado Price Control Enforcement who alleged that Natale had begun selling smaller, lower quality portions at higher prices. The day the suit was reported in the Denver Post, Boggio’s Parisienne Rotisserie enjoyed the best business of its twenty-eight year history and was inundated with phone calls from customers willing to testify on the restaurant’s behalf. In 1953, Natale sold his restaurant to New York City restaurateurs for $100,000 and enjoyed an extended vacation in Colorado and Europe.
Natale returned to the restaurant business in 1965, opening Boggio’s on the Green in Lakewood. Over the course of his career, he was also involved with Chez-Jays in Estes Park, the Orchard Cafe at Elitch Gardens, Boggio’s Cherrlyn, and the Sagebrush Inn. He served as president of the Colorado-Wyoming Restaurant Association and the Colorado Liquor Dispensers Associations, and was a lifelong member of the Elks. Natale Boggio passed away at the Iliff Nursing Care Center in December 1984.
Images of Boggio’s Parisienne Rotisserie appear in DPL’s Digital Collections, and a menu from the restaurant is part of the Menu Collection (WH1509).
Thank You for this article. I have been working in hotels and restaurants in Colorado since 1968 and find stories of past restaurants enjoyable.
My grandfather had Viva Sempre Boggio on one of his last menus. So his wish did come true after all. I am writing a book called The Portrait of a Witch about the family and how my evil aunt-the witch- lusted after my dad and attempted to destroy so many lives. I thank you for keeping my family history.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Valerie! Boggio's indeed lives on!
Thank you for reading! If you haven't already read them, you may enjoy some of our past blogs on old Denver restaurants:
Watrous Bar & Cafe
Pell's Oyster House
Blue Parrot Inn
Colorado Price Enforcement. Do they still exist? Maybe they could help with rent control today. Boggios must have made one of the enforcers mad by serving them a small plate or forgetting to pay them off. I like the lounge(not a bar or club).Great article.
Thanks for reading! The Colorado Price Control Enforcement no longer exists. It ceased operation in 1953. This field office (located in Denver) was part of the larger U.S. Office of Price Stabilization (1950-1953). The National Archives houses these records: http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/295.html#295.2.3
Denver's records appear under this subseries:
There is a very cool postcard for sale on ebay right now (3-21-2016). If I was family I think I might buy it. 1937-Denver-Colorado-Boggios-Parisienne-Rotisserie-Grill-and-Cocktail-Lounge The site won't allow me to post the address link but I think you could search it to find it. Listed for $8.00.
Thanks for letting us know, Robert!
I remember the owner had a Cadillac with a clear hood, you could see the engine.
Wow! Sounds like one swanky vehicle. Thanks for sharing, Marv!
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