Feed me for under 10 bucks: Virgilio's
In a perfect world, every neighborhood would have its own version of Virgilio's -- a near-perfect pizzeria, pasta joint and pinwheel parlor, a place where residents, little leaguers, the mob, spunky ladies who lunch and anyone else who appreciates the spirit and soul of Italian food could convene at the counter and lust after pizza man Virgilio Urbano's slightly chewy, crisp-edged, thin-crusted pies, spinach pinwheels, glistening garlic knots, sausage rolls or warm housemade mozzarella, sometimes wrapped with prosciutto.
Pizza toppings are old-school, beautifully fresh and scattered with a light touch. It doesn't require more than a single teeth-sink into the margherita ($7.75 for a small) -- brushed with olive oil, smeared with herb-y red sauce and topped with rounds of sweet mozzarella, sprigs of fresh basil, tomatoes and Pecorino Romano -- to turn you into a junkie, which is probably the whole point. You'll get equally addicted to the ricotta-stuffed spinach pinwheels ($3.49 each or two for $6), which have flat-out leveled me into a stupor. But they've also been the cause of intense anguish, mostly because Urbano occasionally runs out of the things, usually two minutes before I get there, which is more my fault than his, but still ... it pisses me off.
But I can always find solace in the garlic knots ($2.99 for a half order; $4.49 for a large), twisted nubs of oil-slicked dough spanked with garlic (enough to heed off the stalker who tries to pilfer your pinwheel), or the Incredible Hulk-size sausage roll ($8.99) busting with sausage, green peppers, onions, garlic and mozzarella. And Virgilio's also turns out plenty of inexpensive pastas -- baked ziti with ricotta ($8.99), cheese ravioli ($8.49), fettuccine Alfredo ($9.49) and an old-fashioned heap of spaghetti for $8.49 -- plus a crop of great lunch specials, including two slices of pizza, plus a soda or bottled water, for $6.75. And the $2.75 bottles of Moretti, offered every day between 3 and 6 p.m. during happy hour, are a good deal, too.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.