Pantaleone’s, the home of “Denver’s Best Pizza”, which was featured on season seven of Kitchen Nightmares, is still open for takeout and delivery orders to this day.
The restaurants that have been featured on Kitchen Nightmares have not always had the best success rate after their episodes aired.
However, Pantaleone’s which sported the “Denver’s Best Pizza” moniker in the seventh season of the show, is still in business and is bringing in fairly positive reviews to this day.
The Kitchen Nightmares success rate
Kitchen Nightmares has always been one of Gordon Ramsay’s most popular reality television programs. The show sees this successful celebrity chef offering some much-needed business advice to failing restaurants all over the United States.
Unfortunately though, the restaurant industry is notoriously unforgiving and the success rate of the businesses which appeared on the show is much lower than fans expected.
Reality TV Updates puts the current success rate of the Kitchen Nightmares restaurants at a meager 16%, with only 12 of the restaurants featured on the show still operational in 2023.
An update on Kitchen Nightmares’ Pantaleone’s (Denver’s Best Pizza)
Ramsay visited over 70 different restaurants throughout Kitchen Nightmares’ first seven seasons (with more coming in the show’s newly-announced eighth season before the end of 2023).
And although not all of these restaurants have remained open until now, some of them certainly stood out.
One of the Kitchen Nightmares episodes that earned its place as one of the most memorable from the show is the “Pantaleone’s” episode from the seventh season, which aired on April 11, 2014.
During this episode, Ramsay visits Pantaleone’s in Denver, Colorado, to find the pizzeria, which one customer claimed had the “Best Pizza in Denver” all the way back in the ‘80s.
Pete Fafalios and his wife, Paulette, opened Pantaleone’s back in the year 1985, but Pete’s unwillingness to let go of the past (and the reigns to his restaurant) had landed the entire Fafalios family in huge amounts of debt.
Over the years, Pete’s signature “Denver’s Best” pizza had become soggy and oily, and customers stopped coming to the restaurant altogether.
But since Ramsay changed almost everything about this dysfunctional restaurant, including its logo, its outdated décor, and even some of its menu items, Pantaleone’s has become one of the few Kitchen Nightmares restaurants that have successfully stood the test of time.
Pantaleone’s is still fully operational in 2023, and it has even become somewhat of a must-visit bucket list spot for foodies who are travelling to Denver.
Is Pete still working at Pantaleone’s?
By the time that the Pantaleone’s episode of Kitchen Nightmares was being filmed, Pete and Paulette’s son, Josh, was already 33 years old and was ready to take over as manager of the restaurant.
But even though Ramsay did his absolute best to try and convince Pete to hand over control of the restaurant to Josh, even going as far as employing the help of Rao’s a Las Vegas pizzeria, which has been in the same family for four generations, it seems like Pete has still not been able to step down till today.
Pantaleone’s has changed its business model since it appeared on Kitchen Nightmares
There is no doubt that Pete was holding onto the past when Ramsay first arrived at the restaurant.
But now, almost a decade down the line, it seems like one of Pantaleone’s secrets to success is the fact that the restaurant has been able to adapt to the changing times.
Pantaleone’s no longer has a dine-in option, but the restaurant has turned to delivery- and online ordering-services like Grubhub and Slice Life in order to keep their customers happy and satisfied.
Pantaleone’s also now serves single slices of pizza, between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily (except on Sundays, when the restaurant is closed).
Is Pantaleone’s really home to Denver’s Best Pizza?
Ultimately, the “Best Pizza in Denver” is a wholly subjective moniker, which will differ from one person to the next, based on personal tastes and preferences.
What’s more, there is no objective way to tell whether Pantaleone’s really serves the best pizza slice in the whole city.
But for argument’s sake, Pantaleone’s seems to have at least some of the best pizza in Denver, as the restaurant continues to maintain an above-average 4.1 out of 5 star-rating, from over 280 reviews on Yelp.
Pantaleone’s has also earned a rating of 4.5 out of 5 rating (from 60 reviews) on Trip Advisor, which proves that the restaurant has been delivering fairly consistently good service and food across the board.