You know where you’re a kid and you’re asked what’s your favorite food and typically, the answer is something like pizza? I was totally that kid. You can’t help but love warm, crusty crust slathered in cheese, tomato sauce and a variety of toppings all baked together. It’s simply something you can’t go wrong with.
I have my favorite pizza spots in Boulder, but I know Denver has no shortage. In fact, it seems like new pizza joints pop up everywhere. However, because it’s so heavy and gluten-ous (made that word up) I don’t eat it as frequently as I did as a kid. I reserve my pizza purchases for the best pizza-specific places. When you’re at a restaurant that serves a little of everything, never order the flatbread or pizza unless it’s their specialty. I wouldn’t “waste” a pizza like that, on a non-pizza place. Just a weird rule of thumb for me.
I recently was invited to try Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza in Denver and I prepared my pizza palette. Marco’s is well-loved by Denverite’s – they’ve been voted best pizza in Denver by 5280 in 2013, 2012 and 2010 and best pizza by Westword (among other accolades).
Perhaps the most intriguing part for me was their dedication to detail and authenticity for true Napolese pizza. Their pizzamakers have been trained by the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napolitani, a group of Pizzaiuoli that are regarded as the best in the world. They’re a certified pizzeria through the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletan, which is the only VPN certified pizzeria in Colorado. To-date, there are only 69 pizzerias in the US that are certified.
They use the highly regarded Antico Molino Caputo ’00’ flour, tomatoes from San Marzano in Italy and cheese that is produced in Italy. Even if some of the certification can be a bit of a novelty and “fluff”, it does ensure there’s a high quality of product and they abide by a high level of authenticity that can’t be denied.
There are two locations; one in the ballpark (where I visited) and the other in Englewood at Inverness. The ballpark location is vibrant, with a beautiful bar, exposed brick and an open kitchen where you can watch the pizza makers at work alongside their pizza oven. It’s cozy and I like that it’s not cavernous. On evenings visited, it’s bustling with people and usually loud and vibrant.
I was impressed to learn they also offer delivery – you can get their pizza in the comfort of your own home. To find higher end pizza that offers delivery, is few and far between.
Some of my favorite dishes of theirs include their lemoncello wings. It’s a great appetizer and they’re marinaded in their house-made lemoncello vats in the restaurant for three days, then they’re placed right on the open coal grills and the fire that erupts from the alcohol burning off gives it that perfect, black, crispy char. Lemon oozes out of the tender meat when you bite into the wing.
Before our pizza, we tried their mele fresca salad that comes with a greens, apples, prosciutto di parma, gorgonzola, roasted almonds and a lemon vinaigrette. As we were sampling many dishes, this salad is typically larger and really quite filling. The prosciutto is perfectly sliced to paper thin.
They separate their pizza toward a more traditional Italian style pie with their Pizza Napoletana or their New York Pies, depending on your preference. You can make your own with your favorite toppings and they also offer gluten-free.
I went with the traditional and our extremely knowledgeable server suggested two very popular pies. The Pistacchio that comes with fresh mozzarella, sweet italian sauce, pistachio cream and EVOO. This pizza was incredibly rich and I could only finish one piece, but it was delicious.
The next pizza was the Del Re which comes with fresh mozzarella, pecorino sardo truffle spreads, mushrooms, prosciutto di parma, fresh basil and EVOO. Also a white pizza, this was rich with creamy mozzarella but added nice salt with the prosciutto. Both of these pies come in respectively at $18 per.
I enjoyed Marco’s crust so much and with so many varieties of pizza, I’m excited to try even more. They have some great Fall specialties and always offer seasonal pizzas, so be sure to ask your server depending on the season.
For dessert we tried a Fall special, their pannacotta that is served with a strawberry glaze. It was perfectly silken and cool to the taste. They’re considering adding this to their regular menu but while you can, try it!