Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Aurelia Pollard

Treppeda's Restaurant celebrates 20 years in business


Aurelia Pollard/Left Hand Valley Courier Howard Treppeda (pictured above) opened Treppeda’s Restaurant 20 years ago in Niwot.

Located in historic downtown Niwot, local and family-owned Treppeda’s Italian Ristorante, is celebrating 20 years in business. Owner, Howard Treppeda, who grew up in Hudson Valley, New York, didn’t come from a restaurant family, but knew he wanted to open his own business when he moved to Colorado.

“Growing up the youngest out of all my cousins, everybody always talked about opening up an Italian restaurant,” Treppeda said. “Once I got to Colorado, I was hungry and figured I would open up [one].”

Coming from an Italian family, the Italian culture was already in Treppeda’s blood leading him to start his venture with a market and deli. He soon realized he couldn’t compete with other stores like Whole Foods and decided to open up for dinner. He gained his knowledge of food and cooking while he lived abroad in Europe, solidifying his vision for the restaurant.

The restaurant slowly turned into a passion for Treppeda, who originally didn’t want to be open at night, but has worked it out so he is a consistent element throughout his kids’ lives.

“I went to the Culinary Institute of America,” Treppeda said of his background. “I lived in Holland and cooked in Amsterdam for a year. I lived over a little market so I wanted this to have a European feel.”

Treppeda also took cooking classes at Cordon Bleu in Paris and visits Italy periodically to keep up with the food culture. Growing up in New York, Treppeda said it was second nature for people to grow their own food, giving them a feeling of pride.

“In New York, you grow up in such an Italian culture where farm to table was a way of life,” Treppeda explained. “We all had our gardens; you didn’t go to the store to buy sausage because you made it better. Everybody has pride in what they make.”

Treppeda knew he wanted to provide a complete dining experience for his customers and said there’s a delicate balance he must follow to not lose sight of what’s important.

“When I started, I didn’t just want to be a sandwich shop so that’s why I opened up for dinner,” Treppeda said. “It’s slow growth, but it’s evolved. Then I got involved in the wine culture. I would get very bored if I was just a pizzeria or a wine bar, or just a luncheonette. I like this, but I have to be careful, because you can’t be a jack of all trades.”

Referring to himself as a traditionalist when it comes to his restaurant, Treppeda said his motto is “less is best” and prefers to keep his menu to a minimum. He strives to make every part of a customer’s experience the best it can be.

“I want it to be a great experience,” Treppeda explained of his restaurant. “From lighting, temperature, sound, and then the first bite. I want every bite to be a great experience. To do that, you have to keep things small.”

Treppeda is proud to say most of what they serve is grown from local farms and made from scratch in the kitchen by Chef Ryan Moore, including sauces, lasagna noodles and fettucine, gnocchi and ravioli, ricotta and mozzarella, sausage and pancetta, and bread.

“Our Italian food is what is available locally, using Italian technique,” Treppeda said of the food. “Our menu is smaller so this way we’re able to make things from scratch.”

Customers might even see Treppeda’s sister Kathy, and his son Marco, who’s 16, working at the restaurant, making it a true family business. He knows he wouldn’t be where he is without the support of the town though, and is grateful for the camaraderie.

“This town is a double-edged sword, sometimes it’s so slow, but it’s been great,” Treppeda said of Niwot. “I’ve had a lot of support from the community… With the support of the community and people believing what I do—[that] keeps me going.”

To Treppeda, nothing says community more than food, wine and music, which is why he also has local musicians play at his restaurant.

“I think food and wine and spirits is great for the community, but when you bring music into play, that equals community to me,” he stated.

Looking into the future, he has plans to make some updates to the restaurant and wants to continue supporting and serving Niwot and the surrounding communities.

“I’m looking forward to evolving and moving ahead with the town,” Treppeda said of the future. “I plan on updating the paint and carpet [in some areas].”

“I feel very fortunate [and] appreciative of my surroundings,” Treppeda said on celebrating 20 years. “What could be more beautiful?”

Treppeda’s Italian Ristorante is located at 300 2nd Avenue in Niwot.


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