How do you take your pie? Are you an Italian purist, only tomato and mozzarella will do. Or are you an adventurous pie eater? Do you like truffles and sweet gorgonzola or ricotta and red chilies? No problemo, Denver is home to pizza for purists as well as extremists.
Bonano Brothers Pizzeria (credit: Kimberly Lord Stewart)
Bonanno Brothers Pizzeria
8439 Park Meadows Center Drive
Lone Tree, CO 80124
Frank Bonanno’s newest venture takes the best elements from Osteria Marco, Lou’s and his other hot spots to create a casual, family friendly pizzeria. Not only is the dough house made, but so too are the cheeses, smoked meats and salmon. This makes for outrageously good pizzas. One pizza with a clever inspiration is the Walter White, named for the dark character in “Breaking Bad.” You’ll find this legal pizza addictive with meltingly gooey ricotta, mozzarella and blue cheese. It’s laced with bits of garlic and crushed dried red pepper. Another pie that attracts attention is the lobster fra diavolo, with tender lobster, smooth ricotta, tomatoes and red chilies.
2401 15th St.
Denver, CO 80202
Since Proto’s opened its first location in 1999 in Longmont, it has set the standard for authentic Italian pizza. From day one, it has had an unusual pizza on the menu that has a sea of loyal followers, the Friday night clam pizza. Have it your way with white or red sauce and plenty of clams on a thin crust. Other out-of-the-pizza-box pies include the low rider, with honey tomato chipotle sauce, bacon and fresh pineapple or the sauerkraut with tart sauerkraut, dijon mustard and sausages.
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Buenos Aires Pizzeria
1319 22nd St.
Denver, CO 80205
An Argentinian restaurant doesn’t seem a likely place for pizza, but Buenos Aires Pizzeria is such a place. If you’ve ever been to BA, you will know it has a strong European presence, and the pizza shows it. Buenos Aires Pizzeria has a few traditional Italian pizzas, but more than not, it’s completely original. At times, the toppings sound a lot like empanada fillings. The pizzas are divided into tomato sauce and olive oil. Tomato sauce examples include the Buenos Aires with hearts of palm, hard-boiled eggs, roasted red peppers and mozzarella. The chocio is topped with bacon, corn and mozzarella. For olive oil pizzas, the recoleta includes mozzarella, asparagus, red pepper and white sauce.
700 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
At Sliceworks, guests are greeted with a little nibble of pizza to get the taste buds going before ordering. It’s a nice touch. The menu is elaborate, with pizzas divided into Sicilian, Neopolitan and Grandma’s style (Brooklyn chewy thick crust). The most unusual pizzas on the menu are also some fan favorites, like the baked potato and the green chile. The meat toppings for the stromboli and calzones are as generous as the service at Sliceworks. Don’t forget to get some garlic knots, they are addictive.
Live Basil Pizza (credit: Kimberly Lord Stewart)
Live Basil Pizza
6305 E. Hampden Ave. Suite 102
Denver, CO 80222
Live Basil is the new sister company to Denver’s Smashburger. Like the burger joint, the pizza restaurant is about fresh ingredients, served fast and at a reasonable price. The pizzas are made as guests walk through the line, so any combination is possible. If you prefer to take your cues from the menu, some unusual choices are the earthy arugula, truffle and wild mushrooms pizza. The Colorado is a white pizza with locally sourced goat cheese, bison sausage, Hatch green chiles, sweet roasted corn and red onions.
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Kimberly Lord Stewart is a food author and journalist for CBS Denver local, Organic Food Reporter for Examiner.com, and the Food, Wine and Spirits editor for Denver Life magazine. Her book, “Eating Between the Lines” tells readers about the truth and myths of food labeling. Stewart is the recipient of two Association of Food Journalist awards for food news reporting and the Jessie Neal Business Journalism award. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.