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Elise Wiggins to Open Cattivella in Stapleton

A new Italian concept from the former Panzano chef

Eastbridge Town Center

Eastbridge Town Center, where Cattivella will be located

Since 2009, acclaimed local chef Elise Wiggins has been tweeting as @thenaughtychef. And from 2004 until very recently, Wiggins has built an impressive reputation as the chef at Italian restaurant Panzano inside the Hotel Monaco.

Now, Wiggins will live up to her naughty Twitter handle to open Cattivella, which translates to “naughty girl” in Italian. Here’s what you need to know about Cattivella {9186 East 35th Avenue, Stapleton}:

The when and where of Cattivella

In addition to being naughty, Wiggins is also about to be very lucky. Cattivella will be located just a few blocks from her home in Stapleton—a true dream for chefs considering their long and late hours. 

[10 Things You Need to Know About Elise Wiggins]

The restaurant will be part of the Eastbridge Town Center project in Stapleton, which already includes a breakfast restaurant from Troy Guard, a Little Man Ice Cream concept, a concept from Lon Symensma, and a Kitchen Next Door location.

Semple Brown Design are helming the design of the space, which will break ground in August. Cattivella is slated to open late fall or early winter.

cattivella chef elise wiggins

Chef Elise Wiggins

The Cattivella concept

If you count yourself amongst the Food Network’s ardent viewers and enjoy ogling chefs through open kitchens when you dine, out, Cattivella will offer the ultimate restaurant experience.

[Elise Wiggins’ Perfect Food Day]

Seating 26, the chefs’ counter is larger than any we can think of in Denver and will offer voyeuristic guests a truly phenomenal view into the inner workings of the kitchen. Wiggins will also capitalize on this space-dominating open kitchen by offering cooking classes.

Watch the pizza chefs slide dough rounds in and out of the wood-burning oven. Observe as line cooks sear half chickens beneath bricks on the wood-burning grill. The more fastidiously minded cooks will want to sit closer to the counter’s pastifico (pasta table), where Wiggins will continue her tradition of producing superior housemade pastas. And meat-lovers should ask to be seated near the butcher’s corner to watch staff break down cows, pigs, lamb, and other animals.

In addition to this remarkable chefs’ counter experience, there will be room for 74 more in the dining room, and 100 on a wrap-around patio with views of the Rockies.

On Wiggins’ menu

The dinner menu mimics a typical Italian structure, with antipasti, pizza, primi (pastas), griglia (or secondi), controni (sides), and dolce (desserts). Cattivella will also serve brunch.

While Panzano focused on Northern Italy, Cattivella will be “a beautiful combination of Italy,” in Wiggins’ words, from Tuscan and Umbrian meats, to Piedmontese pastas, to Neapolitan pizzas and bread.

While the menu is in development, expect an approachable price point (thin an $18-$45 per person price range for dinner) and a daily happy hour from 4-6pm where you can try the food for even less. While the menu is still under development, here are some of the potential dishes:

  • Ricotta Fritti with pickled tomato salsa, basil, and saba
  • Ground Housemade Rabbit Sausage with fig jam and whole grain mustard
  • Grilled Root Vegetables with wild fennel seed, orange, ricotta salata, arugula, and borage
  • Grilled Corn Pizza with roasted red pepper, basil, Parmesan, cresenza, pecorino, and garlic oil
  • Hand-Rolled Pici Pasta with pilacca, pomo, mascarpone, and basil
  • Lamb Rib and Loin Chops
  • Creamy Polenta with truffle mascarpone
  • Hazelnut Chocolate Torte

And for brunch:

  • Sfogliatella Santa Rossa: Famous pastry of Salerno region of Southern Italy filled with citrus pastry cream and encased in layers of crunchy pastry
  • Strufolli: Tiny Italian doughnuts, citrus honey, and toasted hazelnuts
  • Wild Board Polpettone with creamy polenta and fried egg

Between the singularity of this concept, the wood-kissed menu, and the cooking chops of Wiggins, we can’t wait for Cattivella to open. Stay tuned for more details.

By Maya Silver