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In The Kitchen with Bret Thorn

Mici Handcrafted Italian brings better fast-casual Italian to Denver

CEO Elliot Schiffer and co-founder Jeff Micelli discuss creative marketing and plans for growth


Right out of college, Jeff and Michael Micelli decided to open a pizzeria in Florida. It was inexpensive conveyor-belt food made in impinger ovens, and they had trouble competing with all the other cheap pizzas out there.

Then, when having dinner with their Italian-American parents in Orlando, Fla., they realized that they had access to great recipes for meatballs, sauces, sausages and pasta made by their father Jerry. Their sister Kim, who lived in Denver, was on board with the idea, so the brothers joined here in the Mile High City and founded Mici Handcrafted Italian, serving high-quality pizza made on deck ovens that allowed for toothsome crusts that are both crispy and chewy, as well as great pasta featuring the recipes of their father Jerry Micelli.

But they were so successful that they had trouble managing their expansion, so they hired Elliot Schiffer, who was working at Smashburger, a fast-casual chain based in Denver, who was looking for a small startup to help grow. He is now a partner in the business as well as Mici’s CEO.

Schiffer and Jeff Micelli recently discussed their food, their adaptations during the pandemic, their plans for growth and how they incorporate the Micellis’ own customs into their marketing.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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