BY FREDA MIKLIN
The enthusiasm of Sean Huggard, owner of Oliver’s Italian at 4950 S. Yosemite Street in Greenwood Village, is infectious. He isn’t just proud of his new venture (Huggard also owns the Blue Island Oyster Bar restaurants in Cherry Creek and Lone Tree). He loves everything about it, the imaginative food offerings, the unique and fun specialty drinks, and the thing he never considered leaving behind, fresh oysters from his company’s personal oyster farm.
Oliver’s is open seven days a week, starting at 11:00 a.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. on weekends. In addition to the regular menu that includes Tanara Giancarlo Prosciutto Di Parma served with Melone Verde with a touch of Wasabi Oil and Chicken Liver Pâté, Onion, Caper, and Toast as small appetizers, Clams Oreganata and Oliver’s Meatballs as regular appetizers, and Saltimbocca as one of its main courses, Oliver’s Italian has a Happy Hour ( 2 to 6 pm) menu with heavily discounted oysters, clams, and signature drinks, along with a la carte brunch offerings, and a $29 three-course lunch menu with four appetizers, 12 mains, and three different desserts to choose from.
Drinks at the amply stocked bar include signature cocktails like Sgroppino, made with lemon sorbet, prosecco, and Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto, along with Espresso Martinis and, as expected, a Positano Margarita. There’s also a dedicated negroni bar with five separate options and you can even order a sampler with three of them. Oliver’s Spritzes come in three different flavors.
Desserts are creative versions of Italian classics and they can be accompanied by any of nine different coffee drinks, including a salted caramel latte.
Huggard created the concept of Oliver’s and picked the location to appeal to suburbanites seeking an authentic Italian culinary experience, a hopping bar scene, a venue for group events, and a good place for family dinners.
He sees Oliver’s as a celebration of La Dolce Vita, the sweet life. Its frosted glass doors are intended to convey that, on the other side, there is a getaway from the conventional to a lighter, happy, romantic place where the food and drinks offer an unexpected escape from the mundane to a sophisticated yet fun place. Oliver’s, he told us, “is a way to bring a sense of urban to the suburbs. Even the music is curated to bring a feeling of energy.”
The regular restaurant seats 120 and the terrace holds 75 more people. Duggard told us it’s perfect for a group event or a party.
In addition to the many other menu options, Oliver’s offers pinsas, something you can’t find anywhere else. It resembles a flatbread but it’s a classic Italian dish made from a dough that is a blend of three types of flour that is allowed to ferment for days. Toppings offered include fennel sausage and salami, caramelized onions, prosciutto, parmigiano, mozzarella, and arugula.
Besides the wonderful food, drinks, and spirit Oliver’s Italian plans to bring to the neighborhood, Huggard told The Villager that what he hopes, above all, is to be “an amenity to the neighborhood,” because, he said, “The community is everything. That’s where it all starts.”