Boulder puffed out its collective foodie chest recently when Bon Appétit magazine named it the nation’s “foodiest” town. It merits being called America’s “pizza-iest” town, too, for the hand-tossed artisanal pizzas emanating from hot ovens all over town. Authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas are currently in favor. These fabulous, flavorful pizzas are made from wonderfully toothsome dough topped with quality ingredients, baked in a hot oven until the edges just begin to char and served in attractive surrounding by knowledgeable waitstaffs. The pizzas and other dishes that grace the menus also utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients.
3601 Arapahoe Ave. (in courtyard of The Peleton complex)
Boulder, CO 80303
Kelly Whitaker started cooking in Fort Collins while attending Colorado State University, where he pursued a degree in restaurant management, but he liked cooking, and it was Europe that provided an epiphany when he worked on the island of Procida off the coast of Naples. He developed a passion for making pizza in a wood-fired that cranks up to 800 degrees and cooks pizza in a flash – and perfectly – in this hidden gem. The oven behind the end of the bar, so patrons can watch the pizza action. The Pizzeria Basta menu presents a small selection of pizzas, but there’s something to please carnivores, “veggie-vores” and connoisseurs of white pizza. Starters include excellent salume, salads and soups, and there is also a modest entrée list. Desserts include house-made ice cream.
Pizzeria da Lupo
2525 Arapahoe Ave. (The Village Shopping Center)
Boulder, CO 80303
The talented Jim Cohen, James Beard nominee for Best Chef Southwest in 1991, put downtown Louisville on the Boulder County culinary map by opening the Empire Lounge & Restaurant. He had a hankering for a really good pizza — not just to eat some but to operate a place that makes them. He took a space in The Village shopping center, installed a $25,000 wood-fired oven and started offering pizza and other Italian specialties. Among the other dishes is a salad of thinly shredded Brussels sprouts, Pecorino cheese and toasted walnuts so fabulous that even people who don’t like Brussels sprouts rave about it.
1730 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO 80302
Those wonderful sticklers for perfection and authenticity who created award-winning Frasca Food & Wine launched This contemporary casual eatery next door to the original. They installed the first Stefano Ferrara hand-made brick oven in Colorado. In the realm of pizza, Ferrara is like the Ferrari of ovens. In addition to a dozen pizzas, many made with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala. Pizzeria Locale serves excellent salume, a small selection of salads, some side dishes and a few fantastic desserts. Italian wines are on tap.
Proto’s Pizza Napoletana
4670 N. Broadway
Boulder, CO 80304
(720) 565-1050 ?
Pam Proto, who grew up in New Haven, Conn., brought an upscale version of New England thin-crust pizza to the Boulder area in 1999, a number of years before any of the other pizzerias took root here. Proto’s thin crust is crisper and more cracker-like than the other Neapolitan-style pizzas in town. Seventeen combinations of spare tasty toppings are on the menu, which requests, “No substitutions please, unless you are a veg head.” The décor is bright and lively. Pizzas are made and tossed behind a glass partition, and small children always peer into the open kitchen to watch the dough being tossed and the pizzas assembled. In addition to Boulder, there are Proto’s in Broomfield, Denver, Longmont, Lafayette –- and Boise, Idaho.
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