In order to understand how Italco Food Products came to be we must travel back to 1971, when Fred “Mick” Laurita was working as a produce manager at the local Denver Safeway. He supported many of his customers in finding great produce while also getting to know some of them more personally. One of his customers owned a little Japanese restaurant in Georgetown, and Mick learned a lot about the area.
One fateful day, Mick and his wife Rosemary discovered that there was a restaurant for sale in Georgetown. Despite knowing nothing about the restaurant business, the Lauritas took a leap of faith, buying the business and jumping all in.
The restaurant thrived under their ownership and soon became a family affair. Their sons Mike and Chris both washed dishes, bused and waited tables, and also served as hosts. It took just seven years, and the Lauritas paid off their 30-year note on the restaurant.
During the ski season, the restaurant became a haven to travelers stranded by traffic backups and weather-related closures of Loveland Pass. The Eisenhower Tunnel was currently under construction. While there were eight hotel rooms located above the restaurant, the Lauritas would turn their dining room into a hostel in an effort to help out many people as they could who couldn’t get a room at all.
FROM RESTAURANT TO A SPECIALTY FOOD DISTRIBUTOR
After the restaurant, the Laurita family set their sights on a specialty food store. They sold the restaurant in Georgetown in 1979 and opened the Laurita’s Mediterranean Market in 1980. The market quickly gained a reputation for being the go-to place to find unique, high-quality food items that just weren’t available anywhere else. Chefs from around the area came to the Laurita’s Mediterranean Market specifically requesting them to source many items for their businesses, including fresh pastas, meats, and cheeses.
In 1984 Mick decided it was time to create a wholesale specialty food business that was dedicated to providing these chefs and their restaurants with the highest quality, and most authentic food and ingredients available. Thus Italco Food Products was born.
Mike worked with his dad at Italco from the very beginning. In 1991 Chris joined the family business, after spending seven years working as a chef in Vail, Italy, Australia, and Hawaii. Now, 35 years later Italco proudly remains a family-owned and operated business located in Denver, Colorado. Mike and Chris uphold their family traditions of providing world-class customer service, uncompromising quality, and unparalleled knowledge to each and every one of their customers.
The Laurita’s had Colorado’s first and only high-production pasta machine which they used to produce a couple thousand pounds of straight pasta a day.
Italco custom formulates spice blends, many of which are proprietary to their respective chefs. Through Grand Cucina, chefs are able to count on their recipe being incredibly fresh and made exactly right each and every time.
Cheese is the most popular item Italco sells, with coffee coming in a close second.
Italco sells more Yuzu juice than Denver’s largest Asian food supplier.