Serving up Colorado Goodness at Il Porcellino Salumi
Q&A and Photos by Holly Gerard
Bill Miner is the chef and co-owner at Il Porcellino Salumi, which is part of the food and beverage renaissance taking place in northwest Denver.
Q: What is your background and what led you to opening your shop?
A: I’ve been a chef in Colorado for 20 years, having bounced around at some restaurants, hotels, country clubs and catering companies. My business partner, Brian Albano, was one of my cooks for about five years. We started kicking around the idea of a salumeria after we taught ourselves how to cure meats.
Q: Why did you decide to open in the Berkeley neighborhood and when did you open?
A: We initially had signed a lease in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe, but that fell through and we ended up on West 41st and Tennyson Street in the heart of the Berkeley neighborhood. And we’re thrilled to be where we are – everything happens for a reason! After planning the business for three years, we opened our doors on Oct. 22, 2015.
Q: Do you only source your products locally?
A: We source all of the animals we use in our in-house curing program locally, mostly from within 90 miles of Denver. Everything in the store is sourced from within Colorado including cheeses, our sandwich bread, retail products and beverages.
Q: Have you considered tasting events with local craft beers and/or spirits?
A: We will offer a number of classes in the new year in conjunction with Slow Food Denver. There will be everything from hog butchery demos to sausage making, basic meat curing, a chicken butchery class, and maybe even pasta making for the home cook. We’ll be offering two per month. There will be more salumi and beer pairings and more hog roasts in the spring at various breweries around town. We started serving breakfast sandwiches in the fall featuring Rosenberg’s Bagels, and that’s been a big hit so far!
Late last year, we had a pig roast at Call To Arms Brewery and we released a specialty salami made with a barrel-aged beer from CTA. We also participated in the Denver International Wine Festival, where we were sampling our house-cured meats.
Q: What’s an unusual sandwich you serve that is really popular?
A: We’ve been serving a sandwich that we call The Pâté Melt, which is a play on a patty melt with our Pork Pistachio Pâté served on rye toast with caramelized onions, Swiss cheese and our Reveille dressing. It’s delicious, but definitely an unusual sandwich!
Holly Gerard is a Front Range photographer and journalist about town.