The Ten Best Pizza Joints for New York-Style Pizza by the Slice
Famous Pizza has been turning out big pies since 1974.
Pizza styles, like Denver citizens themselves, have come to the city from every part of the country, bringing their tastes with them. But perhaps the hardest to please are transplants from New York City, where population density and a pedestrian lifestyle translate to pie shops set up on nearly every block so that neighbors and commuters can grab a slice on a paper plate without missing a beat. New Yorkers are very specific about what makes a great slice of pizza, from the exact thickness of the crust to the way the grease should pool on top of the cheese to the foldability factor. In Denver as in New York, the keys to success also include a high-traffic location, the right cheese and toppings and a menu that doesn't stray into gourmet territory. After all, pizza by the slice is for people on the go who don't wan't all the bells and whistles and flowery descriptions that come with haute-cuisine pies. Here are the ten best pizza joints in Denver for New York-style pizza by the slice, listed in alphabetical order.
Grabbing a slice at Benny Blanco's often means finding the first horizontal surface where you can park with your slice.
Benny Blanco's Slice of the Bronx
616 East 13th Avenue
This cramped joint, where you can't even step up to the register to pay for your slice if someone else is using the Parmesan and pepper shakers, is perhaps the closest in spirit to a NYC joint. Only a couple of stand-up rails along the wall are provided so that two or three customers can knock elbows while eating, so stepping outside to wolf a slice (and we do mean one; only the hungriest customer would need more) is often the best option. The crust also has a certain ineffable quality that may stem from years of flour dust burned into the oven decks. Topped-to-order slices come out of the oven nicely crisped without becoming toast, so you can fold or not, as is your personal preference. High foot traffic on 13th Avenue and lots of nearby bars and clubs means the place is always busy and the pies turn over quickly, whether at lunch or at 2 a.m.
The Brooklyn Bomber adds chicken and artichokes atop pesto — one of the few times we strayed from pepperoni and sausage standards.
Brooklyn's Finest Pizza
5007 Lowell Boulevard
This relative newcomer seems to be breaking the basic rule of putting a pie-by-the-slice shop in a high-traffic area. But despite the tranquil neighborhood locale, the corner of West 50th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard is surprisingly active, what with a new wave of young homebuyers and the Regis University campus right across the street. And the pizza itself makes up for any lack of traffic by drawing homesick Brooklynites from around the city. Native New Yorker Carlo Conti makes sure every slice tastes just like home, even the daily specials that add a little pizzazz to the menu. This is one of the few places where we'll stray from straight-up pepperoni or sausage for something a little different.
Cosmo's makes a slightly crunchier crust, but the slices are still big and beautiful.
550 Grant Street, 303-777-3278
1325 Broadway, Boulder, 303-447-3278
659 30th Street, Boulder, 303-447-3278
Cosmo's got its start on the Hill in Boulder, the perfect location for shilling late-night slices to pedestrians and bar-hoppers. The newer Denver digs are a little more sedate, but the place still stays open until 2 a.m. nightly (and even later on the weekends). The crust is more crackly than chewy, but slices are big and thin and hit the spot after a couple of beers. Toppings mostly hew to tradition, but you could get a little fancy with spinach and feta cheese if that's your thing.
Denver Pizza Company serves big, floppy slices.
Denver Pizza Company
309 West 11th Avenue
Denver Pizza Company was founded by former Bachelorette contestant Mark Huebner in 2009, and while Huebner didn't win, Golden Triangle residents continue to make the walk-up joint a winner with their continued support. This is the thickest, sauciest, cheesiest pie of the group, so New Yorkers might feel a little overwhelmed at how to eat a slice on the go. But once you're settled into a seat (not inside, though, where there's just an order counter and a condiments station), folding is the way to go to ensure handheld success with these floppy giants.
The retro isn't chic at Famous; this pizza joint has earned its look.
98 South Broadway
Famous Pizza is a Broadway institution founded by Gus Mavrocefalos in 1974, making the weirdly spotless and gleaming pizza kitchen older than most of its customers. Classic slices with just enough sauce and cheese are churned out at a brisk pace, so they're nearly always hot and fresh out of the oven. The menu offers other Italian specialties if you want to sit down for a few minutes, but most of the customers stopping in at the busy corner shop will be on their way — slice in hand — before the cash register drawer slams shut.
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