Chef George Eder founded Pizza Republica in 2009, a difficult economic time for restaurateurs — and nearly everyone else in Denver. Eder's partners, the Jet Entertainment Group, dropped out of the deal in those lean economic years, but Eder soldiered on at two locations, at 890 14th Street downtown and at 5375 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village. Now Eder's ready to make it a trio and will open a Pizza Republica at 686 South Colorado Boulevard in what was most recently Silvi's Kitchen in the CitySet development.
Eder says he and business partner Trevor Pettennude had been looking for another location for a new restaurant, but that CitySet wasn't initially in their sights. "We were looking in Fort Collins — and are still looking up there," he notes.
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But he had gotten to know Udi Bar-on, who owned Silvi's, and met with him once the space opened to review its selling points. The chef was impressed by the size of the kitchen and so decided to make the leap, knowing he could utilize the extra square footage as a commissary kitchen where his pastry chef could make baked goods for all three restaurants. "It's going to add dramatically to my consistency," he adds. Otherwise, the new location will be about the same size at the two existing restaurants.
The growth of the Pizza Republica group won't necessarily mean a growth in the menu, however. Eder says that he has carefully honed the roster of pizzas, pastas and Italian entrees over the years based on what he learns from his customers. Items that don't sell well don't stay around long, while other surprises, like the mussels arrabiata that made an appearance during Restaurant Week several years ago, have become hits. Eder wasn't planning to keep the mussels, but "one of my guests brought me a petition with over 800 signatures to bring it back," he explains.
The new member of the family will continue to focus on what Eder says is the "Italian-style experience with food and wine." The all-Italian wine list earned Pizza Republica an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator in 2015. Eder will also offer wine classes and guided tastings to enhance the customer experience. Look for the Glendale outpost to open in late June or early July, or possibly later in the summer, depending on the timing of permitting and construction.