Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant in Denver is one of the company's locations in twenty-two states. It was packed the Saturday night we visited. We hadn't made reservations but decided to wait about 40 minutes for a table because all of the other restaurants downtown were equally busy.
The bar is small for the size of the crowds. Considering how busy they were the wait to get a drink wasn't bad. The pour on the two glasses of wine we ordered was typical of good inventory control management at a successful restaurant chain. Good selection of wines and beer and the prices were reasonable. We were finally able to get seats at the bar after about 20 minutes. I'm not sure about weekdays, but I'd definitely recommend making reservations on the weekend.
Lots of small (8 to 10) groups were there celebrating special occasions. As a result, the dining room was louder than we would prefer and there is not much room between tables. Our waiter was attentive and professional but clearly trained to turn tables. Despite his best effort to get us to order everything but dessert immediately after he told us the specials, we took our time.
The food, portion sizes and prices were good - but not outstanding. Maggiano's is like an upscale Olive Garden or Carraba's. The decor is more elaborate and the wait staff is better trained and dressed, but the food was typical of a formula restaurant - good, but not memorable.
My only criticism was the hostess staff. They were unusually young, overwhelmed and appeared to need more experienced supervision. After waiting for 40 minutes, and apparently "losing" our name twice, they initially tried to sit us at a small table for two by the door when several other tables away from the heavy traffic were available and set. We were told those were reserved but we politely insisted and were seated at a different table along the wall away from the hostess stand.
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