There was a period in my life when our family was fairly spread out. Bec and Terry and their kids lived in Oklahoma or Alabama or northern Virginia or even — for heaven’s sake! — Germany. Dave and his brood lived (and still do) in Arizona. Jen and her family lived in Fort Collins (where she still lives), Court and I lived in Denver, and Mom and Dad lived up in the mountains in Summit County. The family has always gathered together as often as possible, but obviously it wasn’t always easy for Bec and Dave to travel to Colorado.
Still, on a fairly regular basis, those of us who lived in Colorado would meet in a central location. We spent weekends in Golden at the Holidome. We would meet in Estes Park. But one of our favorite spots to meet — especially when the kids were small — was the Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Denver.
We liked it because it was reasonably priced, the kids were welcomed, and the food was predicable and good. Mom, in particular, loved the Old Spaghetti Factory. We met, of course, in the days before cell phones. It was always busy, and whoever got there first would put in our names. When we walked in the door, we never knew who was there or if we were the first ones because see above. No cell phones. We always had to wait in the bar. Maybe a glass of wine for the grown ups and a pop for the kids. If we could sit right at the bar, that was even better…..
The building is historic — the old Cable Building. Inside are room after room full of tables. But if you were really lucky, you got to sit inside the caboose which had its own tables. We lucked out a number of times.
Jen called me up a few weeks ago. Did you know the Spaghetti Factory is closing down for good, she asked me. Mom would be so sad, we both decided. We also decided that one last trip to the Spaghetti Factory in honor of Mom was in order. We did so this past Sunday evening.
I was certain no one would be there. If they had a lot of customers, they wouldn’t be closing down, I theorized.
I was wrong:
Welcome to the Old Spaghetti Factory. Your wait will be two-and-a-half hours.
Luckily, we arrived at 5:30. To kill time, we walked to nearby Larimer Square and had a drink at Capital Grille. After all, we had two-and-a-half hours to kill. Except we didn’t, because around 7, my cell phone dinked. Your table is ready.
You have never seen three people walk quite so fast. We made it there in about five minutes and none of us had a heart attack. Nevertheless, our table was gone. So we did what we had done many times in the past: we went to the bar to wait for a table…..
Our wait wasn’t long as the staff was nice enough to put us at the top of the list. We soon were sitting at our table eating the familiar food…..
As we ate, we reminisced about all of the times we had sat in this same room with Mom and Dad. I also remembered a time — years ago — when Bill and I came to the Spaghetti Factory with some of our kids and grandkids…..
Jen and I took a minute to sit on the old red sofa where we had spent many nights waiting for a table…..
I’m not sure why the restaurant is closing. Perhaps the valuable real estate will be put to a more lucrative use. Time moves on, and for us, a memorable monument is vanishing.
And never mind that there is apparently another Spaghetti Factory in one of the northern suburbs. It won’t ever be the same, because it was never about the food. It was about the family.
Thanks for all the memories…..