What is pizza? Where is pizza?

A completed Neopolitan pizza at Pizzeria Locale. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

highlands; pizzeria locale; cooking; pizza; food; dining; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
A completed Neopolitan pizza at Pizzeria Locale. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) highlands; pizzeria locale; cooking; pizza; food; dining; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
A Neopolitan pizza at Pizzeria Locale. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

To put it simply: pizza is a baked layering of bread, sauce and cheese.

To put it bluntly: that definition is useless.

Such a bland description diminishes just how delicious pizza can be and how ubiquitous it’s become. It ignores the fact that pizza is a cultural icon we want to put on our T-shirts and tattoo on our bodies.

Pizza unites us and pizza divides us. It is a common denominator of American life and root of regional feuding. You can get it for $1 or $4,000.

In Denver, you can get pizza in several regional variations and in dozens of places. We’ve got tastes of New York, New Haven, Detroit and Chicago all with in city limits, plus one spot that puts beer in its dough and plenty of restaurants that serve Neapolitan pizza. Below, our guide to the different types of pizza and where to find them.

The best pizza in Denver as well as most of the rest of the pizza in Denver

* Offers delivery
^ Serves alcohol
# Open after midnight

New Haven (aka apizza)
The bartender at Black Sky Brewery strikes a metal pose behind a New Haven style pizza. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) metal; baker; pizza; food; dining; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
The bartender at Black Sky Brewery strikes a metal pose behind a New Haven-style pizza. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Black Sky Brewery ^#
490 Santa Fe Drive

“It’s a cold-rise pizza, so we keep all the flour in a cooler and we mix everything cold, including the yeast, and then we put it back in the cooler for a 24-hour rise. The really slow rise gives it more of an airy dough — more of a chewy dough,” said Harry Smith, who is from the New Haven-area and co-owns Black Sky with his wife, Lila Mackey. “New Haven also has a signature clam pizza — clams and white sauce with bacon and garlic.”

The story, he says, is that the man who owned the original New Haven pizzeria was allergic to red sauce, and that there was a man selling clams in the alley behind the pizzeria.

You can get the signature pie at Black Sky, where they get all their clams from New Bedford, Mass. And don’t worry, if shellfish make your face look like a blowfish, there are clam-free pies to try.

Basil Doc’s*
2107 E. Virginia Ave.
330 Holly St.
1481 S. Holly St.

Detroit
Detroit-style pizza at The Good Son on Colfax. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) congress park; colfax; good son; pizza; food; dining; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Detroit-style pizza at The Good Son on Colfax. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Blue Pan Pizza *^
3930 W. 32nd Ave.

Giles Flanagin, owner of Blue Pan Pizza, says his restaurant makes the only authentic Detroit-style pizza in Denver. And what makes it real Detroit pizza also keeps it true to the Motor City name.

“The main thing that makes Detroit-style pizza unique was the pan that [the creator] originally used. It was an automotive parts pan made out of blue steel,” Flanagin said. “He was an immigrant from Sicily and wanted to make a Sicilian pizza. The pan was very critical to getting the crust to caramelize the way that it does.”

That caramelized crust is also what makes Detroit pizza unique, along with the use of Wisconsin brick cheese and a thick but light and airy dough, which Blue Pan achieves through a long, triple-rise process.

“It took my partner years to figure out how to do it,” Flanagin said. “The families that own the two original [pizzerias] — their doughs are still secret.”

Last but not least: veggies go under the cheese and sauce goes on top.

Blue Pan will open a second restaurant at 12th Avenue and Madison Street. Flanagin said the lease was signed in late May and he expects to open early next year.

Chicago deep-dish
Deep dish Chicago pizza at Wymans No. 5 in Capitol Hill. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) capitol hill; pizza; food; dining; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Deep-dish Chicago pizza at Wymans No. 5 in Capitol Hill. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Patxi’s *^

1598 E. 17th Ave.
185 Steele St.

“Our deep-dish pizza is what’s referred to as a stuffed-crust pizza,” said Rich Burns, area director for Patxi’s. “There’s a pan pizza, which is just baked inside the pan, and our stuffed deep-dish is a thin layer of dough inside a 2-inch cake pan, then your add your ingredients, then a paper-thin layer of dough, then we pinch it down and put the extra ingredients on top and bake it.”

“There are the big names out in Chicago,” he added, “Ours is comparable to Giordano’s.”

Wyman’s No. 5 *^#
2033 E. 13th Ave.

Denver Deep Dish *^
1200 W. 38th Ave.

Chicago thin-crust
Chicago thin-crust pizza at the Walnut Room. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) walnut room; five points; pizza; food; dining; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Chicago thin-crust pizza at the Walnut Room. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Walnut Room *^#
3131 Walnut St.
2 Broadway

Argentine pizza

Buenos Aires Pizza *^
1319 22nd St.

Beer-dough pizza

Hops & Pie *^
3920 Tennyson St.

“Beer-dough pizza” is a made up name, but the concept is not. Hops & Pie uses a specially made Hops and pIe P.A. from Strange Brewing Company to make its pizza dough.

Late night pizza eating at Benny Blanco's. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) late night; capitol hill; pizza; food; dining; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Late night pizza eating at Benny Blanco’s. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
New York

New York-style pizza is, as you might guess, the most common. It’s what we picture when we picture pizza — large, thin-crust pies with red sauce covered in melted mozzarella.  You fold it.

3 Guys Pies*^#
1501 E. Colfax Ave.

Amore Pizza*
644 Santa Fe Drive

Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta*^
1780 16th St.
700 Colorado Blvd.
1628 E. Evans Ave.
10890 E. Dartmouth Ave.
16221 E. 40th Ave., Suite C

Benny Blancos*#
616 E. 13th Ave.

Bonnie Brae Tavern*^
740 S. University Blvd.

Brooklyn Pizza*
890 S. Monaco Parkway

Brooklyn’s Finest Pizza*^
5007 Lowell Blvd.

Capitol Pizza*
329 E. Colfax Ave.

Carl’s Pizza*^#
3800 W. 38th Ave.

Cosmo’s Pizzas*#
550 Grant St.

Denver Pizza Company*
309 W. 11th Ave.

Ernie’s Bar and Pizza*^
2915 W. 44th Ave.

Famous Pizza*
98 S. Broadway

Fat Sully’s New York Pizza*^#
3237 E. Colfax Ave.
141 S. Broadway
4275 Tennyson St.

Giorgio’s NY Pizzeria*
3333 S. Tamarac Drive

Ian’s Pizza*^#
2210 Blake St., #101b

Joyce’s Famous Pizza*
2120 S. Broadway

Marquis Pizza*#
2009 Larimer St.

New York Pizza Pub^
4340 W. 35th Ave.

Oblio’s*^
6115 E. 22nd Ave.
1225 Logan St.

Papa’s Pizza*
5765 Washington St.

Pie Hole*^#
44 S. Broadway

Pizza Alley*
3499 W. 32nd Ave.

Pizza Colore*
1647 Court Place

Pizza & Grill*
990 Lincoln St.

Pizza Pedal’r*^
2907 Huron St.

Pudge Brothers Pizza*
3434 E. 12th Ave.

Sexy Pizza*#
1018 E. 11th Ave.
1579 S. Pearl St.
2460 Eliot St.

Slices Pizza*
7155 E. Hampden Ave.

Slice Works^#
700 E. Colfax Ave.
1433 17th St., Suite 100

Two Fisted Mario’s Pizza*^#
1626 Market St.

Neapolitan

Neapolitan pizza is often what you get at more upscale pizzerias. Its notable characteristics are that it is always wood-fired and there is usually more sauce than cheese. You can’t fold it.

Allegra’s Pizza*
2240 Oneida St.

Brava! Pizzeria della Strada*^
3200 Pecos St.

Brik on York^
2223 E. Colfax Ave.

Cart-Driver^
2500 Larimer St.

Crafty Fox*^
3901 Fox St.

Enzo’s End*^
3424 E. Colfax Ave.

Grimaldi’s^
500 16th St., #128

Homegrown Tap & Dough^
1001 S. Gaylord St.

Kaos Pizzeria*^
1439 S. Pearl St.

Lala’s Wine Bar + Pizzeria^
410 E. Seventh Ave.

Lucky Pie*^
1610 16th St.

Parisi*^
4401 Tennyson St.

Pizza Republica^
890 14th St.

Pizzeria Locale^
550 Broadway, Unit C
3484 W. 32nd Ave.

Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana^
2401 15th St.

Racca’s Pizzeria Napoletana*^
2129 Larimer St.

Multi-genre

Several of the other pizzerias mentioned serve different types of pizza. These were chosen as “multi-genre” because they don’t put an emphasis on one or the other.

Nicolo’s Chicago Style Pizza *^
1209 E. 13th Ave.
Chicago deep-dish, Chicago thing-crust/St. Louis and New York

Pasquini’s*^
1310 S. Broadway
New York, Bianca and Sicilian

Tony P’s*^#
777 E. 17th Ave.
2400 W. 32nd Ave.
New York and Bianca

Walter’s Pizzeria
1906 Pearl St.
Neapolitan and Chicago

“Colorado pizza”

Beau Jo’s
2710 S. Colorado Blvd.
Huge crust and honey to dip it in.
Note: Many Coloradans dispute that there is any Colorado style of pizza, and say Beau Jo’s is just Beau Jo’s- 


 

We did our best to find and categorize this city’s many, many pizza places, but our doctors and wallets strongly disagreed with trying them all in one week. Did we miss or mis-categorize one? Let us know: adean@denverite.com.

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers dining and nightlife, and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.