Magazine Feature / People

Law school classes a respite for busy restaurateur

Melinda Pasquini was making pizza in her family’s Italian restaurant by the time she was 8. In old-world tradition, she worked alongside her immigrant parents and American-born siblings in the afternoons after school.

Now in her early 30s, Pasquini is running two Front Range restaurants of her own while attending the Sturm College of Law. In between the two more-than-full-time jobs, she managed to squeeze in a clerkship with state Supreme Court Justice Alex Martinez, who finds it refreshing that a successful businessperson would want to study law as an avocation rather than an occupation.

“As her life is busy and full,” Martinez says, “it is admirable that she has made the considerable time to nourish her intellect in this way.”

Pasquini enrolled in law school in 2003—not only to challenge her intellect, she says, but also to learn how to handle her legal affairs.

Now, as she sits in evening law classes with other professionals she sees her life opening to new opportunities. Whether such challenges take her further into the world of business or launch her into a new career, Pasquini is ready to meet her challenges with the same level of energy and enthusiasm that brought her to where she is today.

Pasquini grew up in Littleton, Colo. Her father, an Italian-born mechanic, invested in a building on South Broadway that eventually became the first Pasquini’s restaurant.

Pasquini earned an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Oregon and spent a short time teaching high school chemistry before going back to work at an expanded Pasquini’s, sharing ownership and operations with her brother, Tony.

She struck out on her own in 2000, opening a Pasquini’s in Louisville, Colo. A few years later, she bought out her brother and began operating both restaurants, which together employ more than 100 people. Learning law with brilliant professors and committed professionals, she says, can be as much fun as serving good food to happy patrons.

This article originally appeared in The Source, March 2006.

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