Dio Mio (dee-OH mee-OH) is the creation of chefs Alex Figura & Spencer White. The self-proclaimed artisanal spaghetti monsters created an eatery rooted in Italian culture enjoyed in a relaxed, approachable and fun space. With their consistently rotating menu, you can always look forward to trying a new dish. Chef Alex Figura was kind enough to share his insight on owning a restaurant and dining in Denver.
Do you have a food philosophy at Dio Mio?
We prefer to keep it simple & genuine. We source high quality ingredients and prepare & season them correctly without over manipulation.
Aside from a knife, what piece of cooking equipment do you use the most?
At Dio Mio we use the vita-mix most, at home the mortar & pestle.
Do you have any chef mentors?
I can not say mentor but someone whom taught me a lot as person & chef. Brian Lockwood, he is now the executive sous chef at Eleven Madison Park.
What do you like to do outside the kitchen?
I love to bike, hang out with my 2 dogs and eat anything and everything.
Most undervalued ingredient?
Garlic. Depending on how you cut and cook it you can release so many flavors. A mince can provide strong flavor. Roasted provides umami/nutty/caramel notes. Sliced and sweated in butter can soften it and help round out dishes. Whole cloves provide background notes that can help tie all the ingredients together.
Most important rules in your kitchen?
Work clean & efficient.
Pay attention to not just your station but the restaurant as a whole.
What would you like to see more or less of in the Denver food scene?
I would like to see more restaurants that educate the public. I feel the Denver dining public lacks food education and tends to follow trends and hot places more than going to a place for just food and drink.
What is your FoodHigh moment? Either a favorite food moment or a dish that takes you back to the first time you ate it.
Eating family meal at a restaurant I worked at in Spain. We would have Paella 2-3 times a week for family meal made by a master arrocero (master of rice). It was never the same and each time was better than next.
What helped shape who you are as a chef today?
My Parents. They always cooked almost night when I was growing up and still do to this day. They taught me what good food is.
Where is your go to spot when you can go out?
I love Hop Alley. Also Dahn Kahn (Saigon Bowl) on south federal is one of my all times favorites. My other favorite spot is Ethiopian restaurant on Colfax, called Ethiopian Restaurant. It is run by a husband & wife, and they still do everything after 15 or so years. Everything is made with love.
What do you like about what you do?
I really like to cook and see people face when they are really into dish.
What story do you want to tell? What do you want people to know about you or your food?
Working & owning a restaurant is not easy. We can not please everyone but our goal is to make everyone happy. Please be honest about feedback because 9 times out of 10 you did not “love,” everything you ate. If there was something you did not like, or would change, please let us know. It is the only we can grow.
3264 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80205