Out of sheer survival, we're all guilty of making the occasional late-night call to the closest pizza place that delivers. And we understand that sometimes you simply need an immediate fix of melty cheese and sauce on top of any crust-like substance available. But just because mediocre pizza is still good doesn't mean you should settle. You deserve the best. And the best is what you’ll get when you hit up these Mile High spots to satiate your cravings.
The Best Pizzerias in Denver Right Now
A black sheep amid the hipster show-ponies of South Broadway, this place is the rec room you dreamed about as a wee lad: foosball and pinball, freaky murals and graffiti, late-night hours, and plenty of beer. Also, thin-crust pizza by the slice or the 19-inch monster, ranging from classics, to daily specials with fanboy names (Vader, Army of Darkness), to flashes of stupid genius like the Munchy Mango. The standard is vegan, but you can (and should) get it with cheese, which mingles with peanut sauce, chopped mango, sugar-roasted jalapeños, and green onions for a creamy, sweet-savory, weirdly meaty, instant addiction.
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 which transform often-trashed crust into the cheesy, caramelized highlight of your pizza-eating experience. Pair it with a Colorado craft beer and give yourself a pat on the back for being so damn smart with your life decisions.
With nothing but a wood-fired mobile oven and a couple feet of workspace in the shadow of the 16th Street clock tower, David Bravdica built a Downtown dining destination on the strength of a proper, almost flaky crust topped with quality ingredients. So you can just imagine what he and his crew are doing now that they have a second location, with walls and everything, in the sensational food hall Avanti. Actually, you don’t have to imagine since you can go down there (right now!) and get some pizza. Try The Fun Guy.
South Broadway (& other locations)
You could basically spend an entire day at the Atomic Cowboy, aka the bar that also acts as Sully's home base. In the mornings, Denver Biscuit Company's mile-high biscuit sandwiches are the star at this triple-threat stop. Later, though, and well into the night, it's the massive, foldable Sully's slices that bring the crowds to this cowboys-and-aliens-themed watering hole. Whether you're ordering to-go from the window at one of its three locations (South Broadway, East Colfax, and Berkeley), eating in and enjoying the local brews on tap, or catching its food truck out and about, you're guaranteed to find the same delicious sense of regret for the food coma that will take control afterward.
Is the world full of sleek, celebrity-run pizza parlors with money-burning ovens and runway-ready staff? The kind with a Bob’s Big Boy statue on the roof, a legendary dive bar that doubles as a spare dining room next door, and the nicest, most on-the-ball employees ever to give slackers a good name? Not so much. In fact, this is the only one we know of. Pro tip: order your thin, crispy pie at the adjacent PS Lounge, where your first drink always comes with a shot on the house. And ask for the Spinaci with red sauce, which adds light, bright tang to the mix of spinach, Kalamata olives, mozzarella, and Romano.
You’re not just getting pizza. You’re getting super-cozy, red bricked and stained glass ambiance. And raw oysters. And broiled oysters. And oyster shooters. And then some booze after that. While the pie with shaved ribeye, peppers, and onions is decadent, it’s just part of a complete package. The same way your leftover slices will soon be part of a complete breakfast.
Like Angelo’s, this Park Burger sibling is all about the big picture, with everything coming together in friendly neighborhood harmony. The kitchen has a blast rolling out featured specials topped with chicken, candied bacon, and ranch dressing one day; gorgonzola, pears, and balsamic the next, and it even gives French fries & wings the pizza treatment by tossing them with Parmesan, pepperoni, pancetta, and so on. And the bar has some fun of its own, too, with a pay-it-forward drink program called This Round’s On Me. So if you can't find a good time on the patio at happy hour here, you might actually be part of the problem. Oh wait, you are definitely the problem.
It’s across the street from Coors Field and it’s open past last call. What more could you ask for from a pizzeria? Let us tell you. You could ask for thick-crusted pie topped with the kitchen sink -- pasta, black beans & rice, specialty combos like fish & chips or brats & kraut, you name it. You could also ask for house-made dipping sauces like green chile ranch, and side salads with 40 different ingredients. And beer. And chocolate-peanut butter Chex Mix for dessert. This Wisconsin-based cult favorite will deliver by even the biggest PITA’s standard (but don’t even think about asking for pita).
The weekly specials never fail to intrigue, whether inspired by a rueben with corned beef, Swiss, and Thousand Island dressing; Midwestern comfort with shaved beef and cheese curds; or Thanksgiving dinner with acorn squash and maple walnuts. But this two-hit wonder also counts among Denver metro’s best beer bars, with 20-plus taps devoted to local, geeked-out, and rare (not necessarily in that order) brews. In fact, in the course of a few visits to either branch, you can probably kill most of the birds on our list of destination breweries with one very lucky stone.
City Park West
Take a date if you're heading to this suave wine bar with live music nearly nightly. Come for dinner and try the White Buffalo with mozzarella, Italian sausage, caramelized onion, oregano, pecorino, and truffle oil atop a pillowy-yet-crackling pecan wood-fired crust. Then come back for Sunday brunch, when the luscious mascarpone, bacon, and maple syrup pie obliterates your average pancake platter. And you can trade your lawnmower fizz for a nice big Italian red or an amaro-based cocktail while you’re at it.
Not that ingredients like mint leaves, orange slices, and coconut flakes are any weirder than barbecue sauce or ranch dressing or honey (if Italian immigrants didn’t want us Americans messing with their great pizza recipe, they should have left it back home!). This laid-back, low-key charmer has perfected the Argentine style: try the #7, which starts innocently enough with mozzarella, ham, and roasted red peppers before veering off into awesome chaos with hearts of palm, hard-boiled egg, and a blend of mayo and ketchup called salsa golf.
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 -- 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, be it the namesake pie with sausage, kale, and red pepper flakes; the shiitake with taleggio and charred onion; or the Four Seasons with ham, burrata, and market produce like arugula, pears, and strawberries.
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