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More change is in store for the New York Pizzeria, which last month left its home at 4990 Leetsdale Drive. The move panicked local New York thin-crust purists, who called to tell me that one of the best spots for a good slice had suddenly gone dark. And the joint wasn't just dark, it was stripped bare -- down to smudged glass and a lone toilet shoved into the back. But as it turns out, owners Rick and Warren Mahlkealready have a new space lined up over at 600 South Holly Street that's not only twice the size of the original, but comes with enough parking.
The brothers hail from the Midwest (when I asked Rick about his unusual accent, he admitted he just tells people he's "from upstate," as in New York, but if pressed will confess that it's actually upstate Minnesota -- about as far from New York as you can get before falling under the influence of California's foul gravity), but that doesn't prevent them from turning out the most authentic New York slices you'll find in Denver. And while a lot of New York Pizzeria's charm (for me, anyway) lay in its physical being -- cramped dining room, the smell of yeast and pulverized tomatoes, flour-dusted everything -- Rick explained that the move was necessary if the brothers wanted to continue turning out those killer pies.
"That old place had been too small for a long time," Rick explains, his accent more powerful (and recognizable) when he laughs. Not only that, but the brothers' landlord was looking to jack the rent on their old, dilapidated, 36-seat space by about six hundred bucks a month -- not the kind of hit a little neighborhood place takes lightly.
The new, eighty-seat spot, which shares a strip mall with a Colorado Athletic Club, should be up and running by mid-June, and is already in line for a beer-and-wine license come August. The menu will stay pretty much the same, except the brothers are adding a couple of salads to entice the CAC crowds. "After they see the salads, they might just say, ŒEh, I really want a pizza anyway,'" Rick says, outlining his plans for proudly corrupting the good habits of his new neighbors. "When people heard that we were going to be opening a pizza place next door to a gym, they thought that was a bad idea. But I tell them, ŒYou know, there's a lot of people who work out just so they can eat whatever they want when they're done.'"
And when they do, New York Pizzeria will be waiting.