Archestratus, the first food critic, praised Italian cuisine's "top-quality and seasonal" ingredients and "fair to middling" ability to tranquilize out-of-control mayors. Today's Groupon similarly stuns, and rightfully so: for $12, you get $25 worth of fresh Italian cuisine at Via Baci in Lone Tree.
The lunch and dinner menus at this Lone Tree eatery are composed of simple and light dishes that put a refreshing spin on traditional recipes. Thin-crust pizzas satisfy circle fans and are built on foundations of flour imported directly from Italy. An 800-degree Fahrenheit wood-burning oven hardens each crusty base to a crisp in minutes and melts house-made mozzarella into pies such as the traditional margherita classico and the inventive fig prosciutto, with mascarpone, fontina, fig jelly, and arugula (specialty pizzas start at $10.99). The oven is not only hot enough to melt hobbit rings, but it also brings smoky flavors to other entrees, such as wood-roasted salmon ($16.99) and chicken marsala with crimini mushrooms ($13.99). Fresh-made pastas include pumpkin ravioli ($15.49) and chicken cavatappi ($14.99).
Like a warm Italian family, Via Baci is welcoming to all company and is unsatisfied until pant buttons are classified as projectiles. Friendly servers can help feasters navigate the menu—describing, recommending, and feeding the dishes to eager eaters at the table.
Inside Via Baci's kitchen, chefs craft fresh mozzarella, hand-press Neapolitan-style pizza crusts, and heat entrees in the scorching flames of a wood-burning oven. At 800 degrees Fahrenheit, the oven bakes crispy crusts into 13 pizzas, such as the margherita classica and the chicken bianco: oven-roasted rosemary chicken with goat cheese, marinated black olives, scallions, and two kinds of tomatoes. Once carried into the dining room or catapulted onto the patio, light Italian meals pair nicely with cocktails and dozens of international wines.