Best BBQ Ribs 2002 | Rib Crib Bar & Grill | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
We're tickled by the ribs at the Rib Crib, which Evergreen native Troy Tyus took over last year from the Crib's original owners, who'd had the place for thirteen years. Along with the restaurant, Tyus got their secret recipes -- including how to rub and applewood-smoke St. Louis-cut pork ribs, baby backs and beef ribs so that they arrive at the table tender and moist, with a deep smoky taste. Although the kitchen has already splashed the ribs with the Rib Crib's signature sauce, somewhat reminiscent of Kansas City style, with some molasses sweetness and a strong tang, more comes on the side. (The Rib Crib also has what it calls "vapor sauce," available on request, that'll blow your socks off.) But despite its name, this joint isn't just about ribs. The soups and salads are good, and the prime rib is finished off in the smoker, which gives it a unique taste. Still, we love them bones.

It may boast the oddest location for a barbecue place we've ever seen, tucked away inside a big, fancy business park, but Rocky Mountain Barbecue & Catering is the real deal. For proof, try the pulled pork: salty and rich, with just the right amount of charred bits, and as tender as the big, puffy bun it sits on. Pour on the thick, burgundy-colored, molasses-sweet and vinegar-tangy Kansas City-style sauce, and prepare to pig out.

Pizza covered with barbecued chicken is all the rage these days, but the first place to offer a BBQ pie in these parts was the N'Awlins-themed Bourbon Street. This fun, lively pizzeria features two dozen funky pies, ranging from the garlic-packed Dracula's Nightmare to the Philadelphia Story, which comes covered with cheesesteak essentials. But our all-time favorite is the Louisiana BBQ Chicken, a medium-thick-crusted pizza topped with barbecue-sauce-slathered chicken, grilled bell peppers and onions, and a combination of smoked gouda and mozzarella for a smoky, sticky-sweet meal.

Yo! Anthony's serves the most authentic New Yawk 'za in town. Super-thin crackly crust. Sweet sauce. Lots of drippy cheese. Fold a slice in half, and orange grease runs everywhere. Don't argue: You're gonna like it.

Just stepping inside either of the two Meglio's outposts is enough to transport you back to the Windy City: Chicago memorabilia covers the walls, and regulars are always ready to chat about da Bears. But the pizza here is the real deal, too. In Chi-town, pizzerias pour it on thick -- and Meglio's follows suit by serving deep-dish pies so fat and smothered in cheese, one slice is enough for a meal. The sauce is rich and tomatoey, and the perfectly oiled crust is so tasty that, long after your stomach is full, you just can't stop.

The Wazee Supper Club, started nearly thirty years ago by the Karagas brothers, was a lower-downtown institution long before the area acquired the nickname "LoDo." Although this classic is now owned by the Wynkoop Brewing Co.'s John Hickenlooper (Jim Karagas still has My Brother's Bar), the pizza coming out of the kitchen is the same unique pie that Denverites have enjoyed for decades. Baked in the Wazee's stone oven, the cornmeal-enhanced wheat crust turns into a cracker-like substance sturdy enough to support the load of toppings the Wazee always piles on. In fact, by the time your pie arrives at your table, it's so full of pepperoni and sausage or ham and pineapple or onions and mushrooms, it's tough to know whether there's a pizza underneath. Trust us: There is, and it's a good one.
An Iowa-style pizza? If you never sausage a thing, head to Justine's Pizza, a little joint in Loveland that serves an "Eastern-Iowa-style" pie -- which translates to topped with sauerkraut and Canadian bacon and proves surprisingly tasty. How're you gonna keep 'em down on the farm? With pizzas like this.

Here's one place where bigger is better, because one piece of Papa Keno's pie could be enough to satisfy. Then again, it's hard to get enough of this pizza's crispy crust, gooey cheese and sweet sauce enhanced by plenty of oregano. The super-casual Papa Keno's is an ideal drop-in spot -- especially judging by the number of customers from the nearby CU Health Sciences Center; a hot, drippy triangle should be in your hands within a matter of minutes. As advertised, this slice is as big as your face -- and we're ready to do a little face time at Papa's anytime.
Wedge Pizza Co., a spacious, spanking-clean new pizzeria, makes pies that are a work of art, with cheese swirled around the thin, hand-tossed crust and a lot of thick, sweet sauce. But our favorite way to get a Wedge is as a calzone, with the crust folded over our choice of toppings, then slicked with olive oil and thrown back into the oven until it turns into a tidy package that's crunchy on the outside, cheese-oozing on the inside. The standard cheese calzone is far from standard, with mozzarella, ricotta and fresh basil melding into a blissful goo. But we like to throw in artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavor. Now, pass the sauce, please.

Lechuga's is such an authentic red-sauce joint, you expect to see Frank and the boys lounging around a table covered with a red-checked cloth, sharing a laugh and a bottle of Chianti. But if Ol' Blue Eyes were still with us, he'd probably get right in line with everyone else, peering into the heated display case next to the cash register, gazing in amazement at the stacks of dough-wrapped meat sitting there -- and drooling. "Devils" have been a Lechuga's tradition from the start, and with good reason. The kitchen takes good-quality Italian meats -- mild sausage, spicy sausage and big, fat meatballs -- and wraps them in sweet dough before baking them into giant puffballs. Not so hungry? Tell 'em the "mini devil" made you do it.

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