The Pizza Snob’s first trip to Denver in over 20 years would of course include as many pizza stops as humanly possible. Confined to the downtown vicinity, I had a stroke of luck finding a 2014 piece by Michael Goodwin on Thrillist titled “Your Guide to Eating NYC-Style Pizza in Denver.” Letting Mr. Goodwin narrow the playing field turned out to be an efficient and effective way to experience the best pizza in the Mile High City. During my three-day weekend, I managed to visit six shops from his list, and in the end, had one of the best pizza jaunts in my five year tenure as the Snob.
Taxiing in from DIA to my hotel, my eager eyes spotted one of the places mentioned at Thrillist, Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta. After checking into my temporary home, I moseyed over to check out the place before my first business meeting of the weekend. This convenient downtown location is near the 16th Street Mall and right smack at the 16th and California stop of the RTD light rail.
Only 9:30am, I looked through a window covered with a glowing “New York Pizza by the Slice” neon-sign and was surprised to see a fully-cooked pie sitting on the counter. Would this pie hold up for satisfactory slice reheats when they opened at 11am, or more importantly, when I came back at noon?
With a plan to make two pizza stops over lunch, I ordered only a single plain cheese slice ($2.65) at the counter in the small open room downstairs. They called their regular slice a “Neapolitan,” and additionally offered a thick square “Sicilian” alternative. I spotted some space upstairs where I would be able to comfortably dine.
In a jovial mood, the staff was friendly and not put-off by my usual pizza-purveyor antics of pictures and questions. If only there was a picture of the look on my face when they put their slice in front of me at the counter! It was long, lean, crisp-looking and charred—a truly beautiful sight to see. Strange enough, this vision would repeat itself four more times during the weekend, leading me to label it the “Denver Slice.” And based on Anthony’s 1984 origin, I am still wondering if they created this great extension of the New York slice?
How this commonality of pizza preparation spread around town has me clueless. But, as for Anthony’s creation, it was a remarkably tasty work of art. Slightly larger than the usual NYC slice (maybe 1 and a half times), it was trim on its fixings with an ultra-thin crust and only a slight touch of perfectly-blended Mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. Light on the stomach, tasting delightful and so not overdone, it’s only blemish was perhaps a bit too much oil (my paper plate wound up drenched) that may have been a process add-on.
When all was said and done, I was shocked to learn that Anthony’s is a franchise-ready chain. From their website location finder, I counted 25 stores in Colorado. I did however learn that the one I visited is the original 1984 location. While, I can’t speak for any of the others, all I can say is that this is by far the best pizza I have ever had from a small chain. If I didn’t have more pizza business to attend to, I’d sure would have ordered another slice!
What a fabulous start this was on my Denver pizza journey. I can’t wait to tell you about the rest!
PIZZA SNOB RATING ****1/2 Nearer Perfection
Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta
1550 California Street (between 15th & 16th Streets) Denver, CO 80201