The Absolute Best Pizza in Denver
From New York style to New Haven style.
One of the benefits of living in a thriving transplant city is that food folks from around the country bring their unique cuisines to one place—or in this case, their preferred style of pizza. Aside from Denver’s own pizza places, you can find just about every variety of pie from New York and New Haven-style to Detroit-style and deep-dish, each with unique sides and fixings like honey and chipotle ranch. And now that nearly every place is back open for business, you can go back to sharing pies fresh from the oven at the comfort of your cozy-and-slightly-cracked-leather booth (those are the best spots, of course). So put on those stretchy pants and prepare for the slice(s) of your life with Denver’s most-loved pizza joints. Extra cheese, please.
Looking to challenge your taste buds as well as the buttons on your pants? You’re in luck, because Fat Sully’s NY Pizza is ready and waiting. With multiple locations across Denver, the part-pizza place, part-biscuit place, and part-bar (Fat Sully’s, Denver Biscuit Company, and Atomic Cowboy, respectively), is open late and serves up hot, cheesy, NY-style slices at its pickup windows or massive 26-inch pies right to your table. Build your pie from scratch using any of the available toppings and wash things down with a cold beer from the varied tap list. And the one thing you mustn’t miss: Ordering sides of chipotle ranch for dipping. Just trust us—your life will be forever changed.
Hops & Pie
This pizza joint in the heart of Tennyson Street is as simple and delicious as its name sounds. Now boasting over a decade in business, owners Drew and Leah Watson continue to impress by doing things like surviving a global pandemic and serving up artisanal slices (and whole pies) of traditional, pan, Detroit-style and gluten-free pizza. Plus, a frequently rotating craft beer tap list is always available for the hops to your pie. Oh, and definitely grab one (or four) of the potato-style donuts served inside Hops & Pie every morning until sold out—Berkeley Donuts is proudly Denver’s only potato-style donut shop.
Eating good pizza is cool. Know what’s even cooler? Eating good pizza while supporting a good cause. Sexy Pizza has four Denver locations with a fifth on the way down in Trinidad, and in addition to serving hot, tantalizing slices that are indeed pretty sexy, there’s also a full PhilanthroPies menu (see what they did there?) where a percentage of the pie goes to a community partner. You can support the Colorado Youth Symphony, Project Voyce, or another local organization all while melty cheese, thin and crispy crust, and your favorite toppings make your taste buds dance. Sit down with the Becktown featuring feta, bacon, red onion, and mozzarella, or test out one of the many deals available, like two slices and a beer for just $10. Oh, and those with dietary restrictions have the options of gluten-free pies and vegan cheese, too.
A crowd favorite across the board is the Colorado pizza chain that began in Boulder some two decades ago and man, when we say cult following, we mean it. Fans love this place so much they’ve taken to getting tattoos of the brand’s cartoon astronaut. That’s some serious pizza love. It is tasty for sure, with a wide range of signature pie options or the chance to build your own customized pizza from scratch. There are some classic combos, sure, but this is also a great place to get creative and challenge your predetermined pizza topping notions. Barbecue sauce and pineapple? Go for it. Cream cheese? Never look back.
We couldn’t resist adding this one into the mix, and if you look at even a single photo, you’ll understand why. Also, the idea of seriously artisanal, made-to-order pizzas (for those lucky enough to live in or near Arvada) via Instagram DMs is a true testament to the times. You can choose from East Coast, Detroit, or Neapolitan style pizzas that are almost too pretty to eat, send a DM to order, and pick up on Wednesdays. Follow Get Sauced on Instagram for weekly menus and send a message to place your order. It’s currently working on a donation-basis via Venmo and PayPal, so have your phone ready upon arrival to call that you’re there and pay for your pie.
Now that it’s had over a year to settle into its new digs on Antique Row (and making it through Covid-19, no less), Joy Hill continues to win the hearts of pizza-loving Denverites. The “Bar and Pizza Club” offers wood-fired pies made with naturally leavened sourdough crust and apps like garlic bread and pepperoni rolls that really make the senses tingle. Its customer favorite pie, the Chilis N Pep, features pepperoni, pickled peppers, honey, and mozzarella, though if none of the signature pies are catching your eye, you can always build your own atop its classic cheese pizza, complete with caciocavallo and pecorino romano cheeses in addition to the standard mozz. The best part? They’re also the only pizza place around with a rooftop patio.
Yes, this place serves other kinds of pizza (you'll find New York, Italian, and Chicago-style pies on the menu), but that's not what you're here for. The specialty from award-winning pizzaiolo Jeff "Smoke" Smokevitch is the addictive Detroit-style pies that transform often-trashed crust into the cheesy, caramelized highlight of your pizza eating experience. Pair it with a Colorado craft beer to-go and give yourself a pat on the back for being so damn smart with your life decisions.
It’s centrally located between all of downtown’s most buzzy neighborhoods and it’s open until midnight. What more could you ask for from a pizzeria? Glad you asked. You could ask for a thick crusted pie topped with the kitchen sink -- pasta, black beans & rice, specialty combos like fish & chips or brats & kraut, or their famous mac & cheese pie. You name it. You could also ask for housemade dipping sauces like green chile ranch, and side salads with 40 different ingredients. And beer. And chocolate-peanut butter Chex Mix for dessert. Essentially, this Wisconsin-based cult favorite will deliver, no matter what you're looking for.
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when the masterminds behind Boulder's Frasca Food & Wine and Chipotle Mexican Grill met to discuss their plot for world domination. But you’ll get the gist of it by being a human at the counter of their pizzeria franchise: These guys mean fast-casual gourmet business. Acting as streamlined versions of the full-service Boulder flagship, the Denver outposts of Pizzeria Locale offer the same knockout Neapolitan-style pies -- including the Mais with crème fraîche, ham, and corn -- in a fraction of the time, along with beer or wine on tap, a couple of salads, and the famous butterscotch budino for dessert.
Getting squeezed and jostled like cargo in a shipping container -- because you’re actually in a shipping container at their original Rino location -- is all part of the fun at this ode to the roadside cafes of Italy. The other part of the fun? The airy, bubbly, truly amazing pizza. They offer a lineup of eight pies including a rotating seasonal special but for a truly simple slice of perfection, go for the Daisy, aka their take on the margherita paired with a dozen oysters. Bonus: Their second location in Lohi makes it even easier to find this pie perfection now.
No other spot feels as homey as Kaos—and that’s because the building is a 100-year-old brick cottage complete with a quaint garden patio where you can order these artisanal pies while the weather is warm. Everything here is done by hand and ingredients are sourced from local farms and ranches, and even from neighbors who have a bit too much garden bounty on their hands. Go for one of their tried and true favorites like broccoli & tater, but be sure to also check out their ever-changing seasonal specials.
You’re asking what is “New Haven-style” right now, aren’t you? Think thin, slightly charred crust in a rustic, asymmetrical shape. They’re incredibly tasty and served in a trendy space that features highlights like a chandelier made from over 1,000 wine bottles. The whole operation was started by the same brothers that brought us Dos Santos; Kris and Jason Wallenta, who were inspired by the “pies” (not pizzas) they ate growing up on the East Coast. Don’t miss the Porky Porkorino with red sauce, mozzarella, sopressata, pickled chiles, and hot honey. And if you need a second, go for the eponymous White Pie with crème fraîche, mozzarella, garlic, bacon, crimini mushroom, and an egg on top. The best part? All their pies are only $12 on Mondays.
Marco's Coal Fired | Ballpark
Mark Dym, who owns Marco’s (which briefly went through a name change to Racca’s) along with his wife Kristy, wanted to make the perfect pizza, so they headed straight to Naples -- pizza’s beautiful birthplace. They’re now the only Colorado restaurant that’s been certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, which is basically the international authority on authentic Neapolitan pies. While they do also offer NY style pies, you’ll want to head to Marco’s for the pizza napoletana section of the menu which includes the can’t miss pistachio with sweet Italian sausage, pistachio pesto, and fresh mozzarella.
Chicago may be best known for deep-dish pizza, but there’s another, dare we say better, Windy City pie specialty that deserves your pizza-loving attention. Restaurateur Jared Leonard first brought his Chicago-based hot chicken joint, Budlong, to Denver in 2018 and has since added AJ’s BBQ and Evergreen eatery Campfire to his Mile High repertoire. But with this spot, he’s made things extra personal. His pizza place in The Source specializes in the pies he grew up with: cracker-thin-crusted, square-cut Chicago tavern-style pizza. Pair them with an Italian beef, loaded with giardiniera for an authentic Chi-Town experience right here in Denver.
Famous Original J’s Pizza
The man who brought NYC bagels to Denver at Rosenberg’s -- and big city deli favorites at Lou’s Italian Specialties -- is also serving up legit slices at this window service joint. Josh Pollack’s trio of eateries are a haven for East Coast transplants and the pies coming out of Famous J’s may be the most addictive of the bunch. You can order full pies, but nothing compares to the experience of walking up to the window and ordering a couple of slices served on paper plates and eating them street side.
OK, so there are other pizzerias on this list that do a charred crust -- and do it well -- but this spot that’s a short drive from Downtown has developed a cult following thanks to the pies being made in their wood-fired oven. Cooked at 900 degrees, each 14-inch pizza (they come in only one size) features a just-burnt-enough crust and a lingering smokey flavor. Add toppings like homemade sausage, roasted Colorado onion, anaheim peppers, garlic, chile flakes, and basil (aka ‘The Italian’) and you’ll find yourself making excuses to head to Lakewood to try out the whole menu.
How to enjoy: Visit in person or call (303) 922-3202 for pickup.
Here, you not only get to pick your pizza toppings, you can also pick your ideal style -- they offer deep-dish, hand tossed, Sicilian, and gluten-free options. But for a place formerly named Denver Deep Dish, that’s the place to start. Is it authentic enough to please born and bred Chicagoans? It might be. Especially if you’re into loads of toppings layered with sauce and cheese. If you’re not eating in, your pie will arrive unsliced, because otherwise deep-dish overflow is a real threat. But sliced or unsliced, crust filled to the brim with toppings like locally made Polidori sausage and Tender Belly bacon, Mile High Giardiniera, Italian beef, and much, much more deserves your full attention and empty stomach.