Spinelli’s in Denver is buying 12th Avenue Market, opening second deli


When Jake Riederer shut down his pandemic-era pop-up, Open Sandwiches, last year, he was ready to move on from the restaurant industry to a new kind of business.

“My wife and I started really thinking about the neighborhood market industry and loved the idea of opening in spots with food deserts or just revitalizing little neighborhood markets,” he said.

Their first opportunity was very close to home.

John Moutzouris, who bought Spinelli’s Market, 4621 E. 23rd Ave., from owners Jerry and Mary Ellen Spinelli in 2014, offered to sell half of the Park Hill neighborhood Italian market and deli to Riederer and his wife, Cecelia Jones. And it just so happened that Riederer’s mom lives in Park Hill, while Jones’ first-ever job was at Spinelli’s when she was a teenager.

Neighborhood mainstay 12th Avenue Market in Congress Park. (Barbara Ellis, The Denver Post)

“We were in talks with a couple of owners and John said, ‘Well, why don’t you just buy into Spinelli’s? I’m tired,’” Riederer said. “It was a quick route to learn the business.”

Now, Riederer, Jones and Moutzouris, whose family has owned Pete’s Fruit & Vegetables in the Hilltop neighborhood for 40 years, are getting ready to take over 12th Avenue Market & Deli at 2620 E. 12th Ave. in Congress Park, which also has a 40-year history. Current owners Shaun and Stephanie Johnson are retiring after 18 years of ownership, according to Riederer.

The 12th Avenue Market will continue to operate until the end of October, and Riederer, Jones and Moutzouris hope to reopen it as Congress Park Market by Nov. 15.

“It’s important for us to continue to honor the neighborhood the same way that 12th Avenue Market did for so long,” Riederer said. “We’re not trying to force something new on it. We want to continue serving every population that comes in, and we’ll have EBT (Colorado’s food assistance cards) available so anyone can access fresh produce and a good meal.”

The interior of 12th Avenue Market, at 2620 E. 12th Ave in Congress Park. (Barbara Ellis, The Denver Post)
The interior of 12th Avenue Market, at 2620 E. 12th Ave in Congress Park. (Barbara Ellis, The Denver Post)

The trio plans to keep the tiny U.S. Postal Service office that inhabits the space, although they will move it toward the front. Then they’ll use the space in the back for a deli.

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