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A new chapter and new name for Lefty's Pizza

Last September, the community of Niwot mourned the sudden death of Craig "Lefty" Harris, owner of Lefty's Gourmet Pizza on 2nd Avenue. A little over two months later, the iconic restaurant that means so much to the community has launched a new chapter. Lorenzo Villalobos, who worked as a chef for Harris for 24 years and considered him family, along with Villalobos' wife, Marciela Vazquez, have purchased the restaurant from the Harris family and have reopened it to the delight of the pizzeria's customers.

A visit to the location last Friday night showed that it was again packed with sit-down diners and takeout orders. In fact, Villalobos could barely take a break.

He explained part of his motivation to purchase Lefty's. "I had a lady, she said please don't close, Niwot needs pizza. Abo's isn't reopened yet and your pizza is good."

He also shared that they plan to change the name of the business to Niwot Pizza, but will continue much of what the community loved about Lefty's. That includes the pizza recipe. "The recipe is the same. We're not changing that. It's what the people loved," Villalobos said.

While a lot will be the same, Villalobos also said that he plans to add a few new things that he thinks the customers will like. "I'm going to add some Mexican food – tamales. Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon sweet bread. It will be great for the winter."

Villalobos expressed that while he appreciates the opportunity, he has the added pressures of the new responsibilities that he didn't have to worry about before. Previously, he could solely focus on what was coming in and out of the pizza oven, but now he has accounting tasks and other business responsibilities to manage. "Now it's only me," he said.

While this new venture in his life has challenges, Villalobos isn't going into it on his own. He has the support of the larger Niwot community. He closed on the purchase Dec. 2 with help from area businesspeople and community members including Pat Murphy of Niwot Realty and Terry Larsen, who serves as treasurer for the Niwot Community Association. He and his wife held a thank-you party to show their appreciation for all who helped them during this difficult time.

Murphy said, "I've known Lorenzo and his wife for many years, and we knew he knew how to run the business. We just worked with him, with the family, to support them in the transition so they could take over after such a difficult time."

Murphy added, "It takes a village to support a change like this. They've cleaned the place up, added all kinds of things. It's a chance for them to start their own business and prosper. I hope the community will support him."

Bruce Warren, a Niwot attorney, helped facilitate the transaction. "We were glad to be able to help Lorenzo and Maricela bring pizza back to Niwot, and help the Harris family move forward after Craig's tragic death," Warren said.

Villalobos wants to be sure the public knows about the restaurant's business hours. "We want to open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. On Saturday we want to open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. That's because people are around Niwot and they're enjoying the weather, enjoying the town. I want to be open for them." For more information go to


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