Fine-Dining Restaurant Under His Belt, A Childhood Italian Deli Fixation Next

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Chef Frank Bonanno holds Kaiser and grinder rolls for sandwiches at his new restaurant Salt & Grinder.


Food can hold childhood memories that can influence your life forever!


Fine-Dining Restaurant Under His Belt, A Childhood Italian Deli Fixation Next

“Vito’s Meat Market was our neighborhood butcher shop, Mom went there for beef or lamb or chicken, but from 11-2, Vito made the best sandwich in the city.  Vito’s has been pulling on my memories for years Mom unwrapping butchers’ paper to fill the house with warmth and happiness, me scooting up the road for a sandwich with ribbons of meat that just… satisfied”. Frank Bonanno

A soft and flavorful Tricio Brother’s bread and a NY and New Jersey tradition, Boar’s Head meats (accept the roast beef) were part of his favorite childhood food memories . 

“The beef he would roast himself, slowly, with a big cap of fatback trussed around the outside and tucked over herbs, brought to a pink, succulent medium rare. “Just” a roast beef sandwich, but piled so high with perfectly cooked and seasoned meat shaved transparently thin”. Frank Bonanno

Fine-Dining Restaurant Under His Belt, A Childhood Italian Deli Fixation Next

So it makes perfect sense that Bonanno, a transplanted Jersey boy, would open Salt & Grinder a New Jersey-style deli and salumeria serving sandwiches on fresh East Coast-style grinder rolls in  -Denver.

While Salt & Grinder emphasizes Italian fare, it doesn’t do so exclusively. 

Meats are sliced when the sandwich is constructed, so as to avoid drying them out. It’s a nice attention to detail. Very labor intense when you have a line of people ordering but the taste of fresh sliced meats are worth the wait any day…

Sandwiches come in “full” and “double” sizes, though a full-size one can feed two. Most are served on grinder rolls that Bonanno developed to his specifications.

His goal was to duplicate the deli bread of his youth, somewhere between a hoagie roll and a baguette and he achieved it while working with Jeff Cleary of Grateful Bread.

The Tig, an Italian grinder sandwich at Denver's new Salt & Grinder restaurant.

Six beers are on tap, and you can choose the wine of your choice, if you stick to white, red or pink.

Cocktails are served pre-mixed in jelly jars, and you add your own ice at the soda fountain. Your choice of vodka pineapple lemonade, a margarita, an old fashioned or a John Daly, essentially a juiced-up Arnold Palmer.

The Deli seats 20, and two upholstered banquettes flank the wooden tables, mainly two-tops. Additional seating is on the street side patio.

Salt & Grinder is becoming a pleasant addition to the Highland neighborhood, and is already doing a bustling breakfast-lunch-dinner business.

You must check out the menu and the names of the sandwiches.

You’re about to go back in time and experience Vito’s,  Franks, favorite sandwich shop in Jersey, relive the tastes and smells of a childhood made up of glorious food memories. 

“Will my sandwiches taste like Vito’s? Unlikely. Impossible, even. If my neighbors come in to Salt & Grinder, if their kids can sit down with just a simple turkey and Boars Head American cheese (yellow) and mayo (the real stuff), if they can do that, over laughter even, and leave satisfied, well, then, then I’ve come home”. Frank Bonanno

Fine-Dining Restaurant Under His Belt, A Childhood Italian Deli Fixation Next 

Frank Bonanno is the chef and proprietor of Bonanno Concepts, a Denver restaurant group that’s the umbrella to 11 venues: Salt & Grinder, Mizuna, Luca d’Italia, Osteria Marco, Bones, Green Russell, Wednesday’s Pie, Russell’s Smokehouse, Lou’s Food Bar, Vesper Lounge and Bonanno Brothers Pizzeria. He also hosts “Chef Driven,” a PBS show about his travels across Colorado.

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