Italian food with a passion
Enzo Favali has the perfect Italian name. You’d think he was born to be the owner and chef of a pizzeria and restaurant.
The Canadian-born, Miami-reared Grand Junction resident grew up helping at his father’s hair-salon business and later became an information technology specialist for a couple of Florida law firms.
Though they often visited the state, primarily to ski, he and his wife, Kelly, had never lived far from the Atlantic seaboard.
The two didn’t come to the Western Slope six years ago with the idea of starting a restaurant, either. They just liked the area and wanted to live here.
“Enzo always wanted to live in Colorado,” Kelly Favali said. “We would always vacation here. It was one of his favorite spots to visit, and we thought it would be a good environment to raise our kids.”
At the time, the couple only had one. It didn’t take long for a second one to arrive, too. Now, the 49-year-old Favali and his 43-year-old wife have a 12-year-old and a 4-year-old — and a 3-year-old business.
Kelly Favali said they moved to the Grand Valley after her husband got an IT job here, but it was with the hope of opening a restaurant one day.
In time, they did, opening Enzo’s Pizzeria at 759 Horizon Drive, and later getting the space next door to add the Italian café.
Though most of the fare on the restaurant’s menu is created by Favali himself, dishes are based on his mother and grandmother’s cooking.
The two hail from Naples, Italy.
Unlike his two brothers, who went into their father’s business, Favali said he learned at an early that the hair business was not for him.
“As a kid, my father used to take me to work with him, and I’d take up the lady’s rollers or sweep up the hair,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘I’m definitely not doing this.’ “
In time, Favali returned to Canada — and, yes, the family did emigrate here, legally — to finish college, earning a degree in electronics engineering from the DeVry Institute of Technology at Toronto.
He returned to Miami and quickly got a job at a large law firm, handling its IT needs. That’s where he met his wife, who liked the idea of having a husband who could cook.
“He wanted to do something different from the family business,” Kelly Favali said. “He has an excellent palate and skill. It’s just unbelievable. He started working in pizzerias when he was 14 years old.”
Beyond his cooking, Favali loves to ski and mountain bike, and likes being in Colorado because he’s close to many places to do both.
“In my 30s, I decided to take up skiing. Never skied a day in my life,” he said. “The first place I came to was Colorado. We went to Steamboat. I got hooked, and was taking three or four trips a year out here.”
It didn’t take long for Favali to decide to move to the state, but his East Coast wife took about 10 years to be persuaded.
He got to know Grand Junction because he had a friend in town he would often visit.
He got a job, bought a house and the rest is history.
“Everything just fell into place really quick,” he said. “The people are awesome here. Every time we used to come visit here, everybody I met was very nice, completely different from the crowd in Miami. And I can go a couple hours in any direction and ski.”