A TRADITION FOOD AND SPORTS
CC & Panino’s
Love of hockey runs from Colorado to Minnesota
By JIM BAINBRIDGE THE GAZETTE
No Colorado Springs business has had a deeper bond with the Colorado College hockey program during the past three decades than Panino’s Restaurant, a connection seen on its walls, in its clientele and in its bloodlines. Panino’s has been tied to the school’s hockey program since the restaurant was bought in 1974 by former CC All-America hockey player Tony Frasca. It’s still the place to be on game day a generation later with his son Mike running things. Dinner business spikes at 20 percent above normal when Colorado College is playing at home, and the bar fills up with regulars whenever the Tigers are playing a televised road game, a lot of them with painted faces and CC jerseys. “It’s pretty much the same group of people,” Mike Frasca said. “It’s like being in your own living room. It’s kind of special that way.” Panino’s has always been about family with Tony and Evey Frasca running the place — first as Pizza Plus and later as Panino’s — with help from their seven kids. Mike Frasca is sole owner of the Tejon Street Panino’s, and his brother Trip, a CC hockey player in the mid-1970s, runs the restaurant on Eighth Street. The Fort Collins restaurant belongs to Mike Frasca’s sister Gail, and the one in North Oaks, Minn., is owned by sister Joann. “When Don Lucia was coach here, he used to bring the team in for pregame meals about five times a season,” Mike Frasca said, “and now he takes his University of Minnesota team into the North Oaks restaurant a few times a year.” If anything, the family connections run deeper than ever for Mike Frasca this year. His dad, Tony, was inducted posthumously into the Colorado College Hall of Fame on May 7. His nephew Marty Sertich is among the favorites to win the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey player of the year on April 8. Sertich, the son of Mike Frasca’s sister Patty and former CC star Steve Sertich, has won the Western Collegiate Hockey Association player of the year award and shared the United States College Hockey Online national player of the year
award with his CC teammate Brett Sterling. If things fall right at the NCAA Frozen Four April 7 and 9, Mike Frasca could have two nephews, Marty and Mike Sertich, playing in the final for CC against another nephew, Chris Harrington of Minnesota, the son of Mike Frasca’s sister, Mary, and Olympic hockey gold medalist John Harrington. This has gotten Mike Frasca motivated to increase the memorabilia on the walls at Panino’s. Already there is a picture of the NCAA champion Tigers team of 1950 on which Tony Frasca played, along with other photos. “I’ve got a jersey from the late ’50s or early ’60s, and I’m trying to determine who wore it,” Mike Frasca said. “That’s going up on the wall soon, and I’m hoping Marty Sertich will give us a signed stick at some point.” Don’t look for other changes to surface during the Frozen Four. After 31 years, Panino’s has settled on a winning formula. “We get so busy for hockey game days, specials are almost self-defeating,” Mike Frasca said. “We’re just swamped here.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0126 or email@example.com
DAVID BITTON, THE GAZETTE - John MacFarlane and Elisabeth Storrud cheer Saturday at Panino’s on North Tejon Street while watching Colorado College center Marty Sertich score against Michigan during the NCAA tournament game.