By Shari Valenta
Ever get nostalgic for the zesty taste of Fiore’s Pizza, voted the Best Pizza in Colorado in 1988? Good news. Barry Fiore’s back in business. He no longer owns a sports tavern but a lunch place called Chicago Mike’s Deli.
The charming restaurant in the style of the Windy City and has been around for five years. Sentimental about his home town, Fiore bought the eatery last fall and brought along his 75-year-old family pizza recipe with homemade sausage. The menu offers a diverse selection of lunch favorites including Vienna products, Greek specialties and catering services.
“Some people come to our restaurant five days a week because we have so many different things to eat,” remarked Steve Schnarr, a co-owner. “There’s everything from a hot dog to a chicken breast sandwich.”
What makes the restaurant unique is that many of the items are homemade.
“What separates us from the rest is that we’re not a chain,” said Fiore. “Everything’s homemade including meatballs, sauce, coleslaw, potato salad and pasta salad. I think 90 percent of all pizza places buy their sausage pre-cooked. I make my own, season it and put it on fresh. I think people taste the difference.”
So far Chicago Mike’s Deli has been well received.
“Saturday a customer went to every table and said, ‘You have to try the Reuben,'” remarked Schnarr. “I thought we had a problem or that she had a bad meal. But she came up to me and said, ‘You have to try the Reuben; it’s unbelievable.’ I’ve had a lot of stuff on the menu but never tried the Reuben so I told the kitchen, ‘Make me one like you made her.’ It was the best sandwich I’d ever had.”
Like Fiore, Schnarr used to run another business. His was Center Stage Ticket Company.
“I met Steve in the in the early nineties when he had a ticket business,” said Fiore. “One of the ways to get people in my restaurant was by selling tickets. I had a lot of tickets but Steve had a lot more, so we did some trading. We did that for over ten years.”
Fiore finally sold his previous restaurant due to nine months of road construction affecting his business.
“They shut the road down and customers had to go through the subdivisions to get to my restaurant,” said Fiore. “People found other places to go and I was barely breaking even so I sold it three years ago.”
After selling the restaurant, Fiore found himself playing video games at home.
“I don’t even like computers,” exclaimed Fiore. “I’m over 60 but not ready to retire so I needed something to pass my time. I came in here to buy a hotdog last June. I knew the owner because he always came into my restaurant. He said that it was for sale and asked if I knew anyone looking to buy. I said no, but about a week later I asked, ‘Have you sold it yet because I might be interested.'”
At the same time, Schnarr was in the process of selling his ticket company so the two became business partners. That’s how the two were able to bring back a Colorado favorite. Stop by and taste Fiore’s 75-year-old homemade pizza recipe at Chicago Mike’s Deli, located a quarter-mile east of I-25 on Arapahoe Road in the Arapahoe Station shopping center.
Chicago Mike’s Deli is located at 9614 E. Arapahoe Rd. Summer hours of operation are from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Mon-Sat. For more information, call 303-925-1334.