DENVER – Joe Acovski moved from Michigan to North Carolina eight years ago to open a chain of pizzerias.
With 35 years of restaurant experience and a growing intolerance for cold winters, he figured further South was the perfect place for his family.
However, the pizzerias had some snags, and he had to sell the business.
This turn of events proved beneficial for both Acovski and the people of Denver, as it allowed him to open Joey’s Fine Food and Spirits. This neighborhood restaurant is a real find with large menus, family-friendly fun and big portions of good food.
Joey’s is tucked away in a shopping center in Denver.
Acovski found it on accident while looking for a place to put a restaurant.
“We looked at Lake Wylie,” he said. “But it was too far of a drive. This location is ideal.”
The family likes the area so much, they are planning to move to Denver in the near future.
“It’s a great community,” Acovski said. "A great place to live and work.”
The space had housed another restaurant, so they went in and renovated the space with dark wood, comfortable chairs and lots of televisions. Then he named it after his son, Joey, who is now the general manager of the place.
When Joey’s opened two and a half years ago, it had a small following from the previous restaurant. So the father and son used that as a starting place to build a clientele.
“The prior place didn’t have a great reputation,” Acovski said. "So we went about changing that one customer at a time.”
Now there are many regulars who frequent the restaurant.
“We rely on lots of word of mouth,” Joey Acovski said. "That’s the basis of our business.”
Acovski’s wife, Agnes, also helps out at the restaurant, making it a family affair.
The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner.
The menu is quite large and full of burgers, wings, pastas, steaks, salad, sandwiches and seafood. The restaurant makes many items in-house, such as salad dressings, sauces, chili, gumbo, soup and meatloaf. Plus it tries to buy fresh, local produce as often as possible.
“We usually get fresh tomatoes from a local vendor,” Acovski said. “It makes a real difference in the way the food tastes.”
There is a daily lunch special for $6.99 that includes a drink, making it a delicious bargain. Plus the restaurant offers nightly dinner specials, such as Friday Prime Rib night for $15.99.
Customer Michael Bonnell just moved to Denver and has already eaten at Joey’s three times.
“I keep coming back because of the good food and the great service,” Bonnell said. “I’ve really enjoyed eating here.”
A customer favorite is the Southwestern egg rolls, which are homemade and stuffed with chicken, andouille sausage, spinach and cheese and then fried.
“We’d get in big trouble if we ever took that off the menu,” Acovski said.
And don’t pass up the Jumbo Joe, which is 2 1/2 pound patties of beef with lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, two cheeses plus fries and onion rings.
The wings can be grilled or fried and then dipped in a variety of homemade sauces such as Jamaican jerk, Cajun, barbecue and honey habanera.
The restaurant has a full bar with 12 drafts of beer. This comes in handy during football season when the place is packed during games.
“We consider ourselves a sports bar with high-end dining,” said Acovski. “It’s been a two in one for us and has worked out great.”
There is also often live acoustic music on Saturday nights and open mic every other Thursday night.
It’s been a great move for the Acovski family to set up in Denver.
“Business has been very good,” Acovski said. “We’ve met so many great people and meet more every day. It’s been a great experience.”
Want to go? Joey’s Fine Food and Spirits 7913 Natalie Commons Drive, Denver 704-489-4100.