Good Parma

Words & Photos Erica Boniface

published on Boulder County, December 2013

Located in northern Italy, Parma is a quaint town with quite the history. When tourists travel to Parma, they’re looking to appreciate the amazing art, architecture—and delicious cheese. When a town is known for its cheese, you know it means business.

Enter present day Louisville, Colorado: Two homebred Italians meet through friends of friends and decide to open an Italian restaurant. The name? Parma Trattoria Mozzarella Bar. ‘Parma’ to pay respect to the cheese-alicious town in Italy; ‘Trattoria’ representing the casual restaurant vibe; and ‘Mozzarella Bar,’ meaning time-to-get-your-cheese-on.
Now when we say two Italians, we’re not talking about the American knock-off varieties camped out at the Jersey Shore. The two owners of Parma Trattoria—Emilio Perna Ruggiero and Silvio Cuomo—are both from Italy; Naples and Rome to be exact. When you speak to them, you almost need to bust out your Italian to English Dictionary to translate. So when you dine at Parma you know the food is authentic Italian fare.

Time to Eat! Tempo per mangiare!
The mozzarella bar is original, and it’s what really sets Parma Trattoria apart from other Italian restaurants.
“We wanted to create a different array of mozzarellas, which we can easily find in Italy, but not as easily here in the U.S.,” Emilio says. “We picked our favorite, like the burrata, which is a nice creamy option, and our top seller, the bufala, coming from around Naples (so Silvio has added a home flavor to it), and my personal fave is the fior di latte, which is like eating a ball of milk.” And bonus: the cheeses are all lactose-free!
Guests have the option to sit near the mozzarella bar with the open kitchen or dine in the cozy dining area, possibly next to the fireplace.
“Our twist on the mozzarella bar is that people can combine one or three different cheeses and put some condiments with it. Sort of like a sushi bar, but with mozzarella.”
As if your mouths aren’t watering already, let’s get to the bulk of the menu. Main dishes are an array of home-style, original Italian recipes by owner and executive chef, Silvio. Do you still have your Italian translator dictionary handy? Good, you may need it when placing your order.
Whether you’re a ravioli connoisseur or a straight-up pasta buff, they have a wide variety of pasta dishes to satisfy your carb craving.
Penne tricolore is one of the more popular dishes, and it was recently promoted from a special to the permanent menu thanks to heavy demand. It consists of bufala mozzarella, basil and mushrooms in a pink vodka sauce ($12). It’s a recipe that Silvio put his own twist and spin on to make it one-of-a-kind.
If pasta isn’t your thing, we recommend the pollo al mattone ($15), which is half a semi-deboned chicken seasoned with fresh herbs and garlic, brick pressed on the grill and served on a heaping pile of spinach and roasted potatoes.
If you’d really like to step outside the usual Italian spaghetti and meatballs, we highly recommend the cioppino ($23), which is a traditional Italian stew full of fresh fish, shrimp, clams and mussels in a spicy seafood broth with fresh herbs and served over linguine with grilled crostini.

Like some wine with that cheese?
It’s a well-known fact that nothing goes better with cheese than wine, and with more than 50 wines from all over the world, we’d say Emilio and Silvio have you covered. Definitely hit up their happy hour after work— specials include $4 Chianti and Pinot Grigio from 3:30 p.m.-6 p.m.
“We thrive at making sure the customer receives great value when they dine with us,” boasts Emilio.
With a full bar, they can whip up any fancy cocktail, but their limoncello drop ($6 happy hour; $10 regular) is deliziosa! Parma makes their own limoncello inhouse so you don’t have to get hopped up on a bunch of simple syrup while you dine, and let’s just say they’re very generous with the Absolut Citron as well.

Atmosfera
The atmosphere is very comfortable and relaxed—feel free to visit Parma on your way to the Regal Colony Square 12 movie theatre next door in your jeans, or get fancied up for a romantic date night. You’ll fit in either way.
The large dining area seats around 120 guests and has an array of Italian culture —with art and pictures of Italian scenery donning the walls and a delightful fireplace to warm you up, it’s a perfect mix of modern yet simplified décor.
When we asked why Emilio and Silvio chose to open a business in Louisville over the neighboring towns of Boulder or Denver, they explain it nicely: they love the community.
“Louisville is just a great place to do business. It’s been voted the No.1 place to live and for a reason; it’s a great sense of community. We love to donate money to local charities and schools and be a part of everything great here.”

Bottom line:
Parma Trattoria Mozzarella Bar gives Louisville a taste of Italy at a reasonable cost to diners and offers original plates, dishes and cocktails that you won’t find anywhere else. Don’t miss their lunch specials (which start at just $5.99!) Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

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