Blue Parrot Italian restaurant in Louisville to close after almost 100 years

Nearly 100—years ago, there wasn’t a whole lot happening on the Colorado restaurant scene. (Whatever did the food blogs talk about?) But there was the Blue Parrot. So we don’t think it’s at all hyperbole to say that we felt like history was crashing down around us when we learned this morning via 9News that the Blue Parrot — the really old-school, family-owned Italian eatery in Louisville — is closing at the end of the month.

“I’m ready to retire,” 67-year-old owner Joan Riggins said. “I’m running around and working in the kitchen every night, I’m just done. It’s (the closure) gonna affect a lot of people.”

Opened in 1919 by Mike and Mary Colacci, the Blue Parrot just may be the longest continually-operating restaurant in the state. Not only that, it’s been run by the Colacci family (we’re talking fourth and fifth generation at this point) the entire time.

With the exception of a brief closure after a fire in the 1980s, they’ve been serving their iconic fat spaghetti for 98 years running. But times have been tough lately — not just for the Parrot, but for a slew of classic red-sauce Italian restaurants that have shuttered in recent years. (RIP Pagliacci’s, Patsy’s and Longo’s Subway Tavern).

The Parrot went (meat)balls to the wall to make things work, revamping d—cor and adding a new sign a couple years ago. But whether it’s due to shifting palates, an increase in gluten-free diets or good old fashioned economics, it didn’t seem to work.

OK, so maybe the Blue Parrot hadn’t aged too well and couldn’t compete with the new guard of more contemporary Italian eateries, but for the love of gluten — where will we get our fat spaghetti? Are we destined to twirl and slurp regular-sized spaghetti from here on out? Forgive us while we go cry in our pasta bowls.

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