Best Thick-Crust Pizza 2020 | Blue Pan Pizza | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Molly Martin

Things were different when Blue Pan Pizza opened its first outpost in Highland five years ago: While there were plenty of pizzerias in town, most joints served up thin, generic versions (with a few Chicago- and NYC-style spots in the mix). Detroit-style pizza — with its caramelized deep-dish crust and equally thick, crisped blanket of cheese extending to the very edge of the dough — mostly elicited puzzlement. But Blue Pan's been a hit from the moment it opened its doors, and even though Denver residents can now opt for St. Louis-, New Haven- and Wisconsin-style pies, too, we still can't get enough of Blue Pan's Motor City version. Visit the restaurant's website for details on its no-contact delivery service.
Molly Martin

At Cart-Driver's original pizzeria, built from a converted shipping container, and at its glossy new LoHi location, thin crust means Neapolitan pizza, baked hot and fast in a wood-burning oven. The pies come out blistered and airy around the edges, with the sauce and cheese cooked just enough that they meld together with toppings as wide-ranging as clams, Gorgonzola cheese and kale (not all on the same pie, of course). Nailing a great Neapolitan pizza takes a certain attention to detail, with the right flour, exacting dough-making technique and a skilled pizzaiolo in front of the oven. Visit for pick-up.

Best To-Go From Denver's Best New Restaurant

American Elm

Leigh Chavez Bush

The best restaurant to open in Denver this past year, American Elm boasts a seasoned pro calling the shots in owner Bob Reiter and a steady hand in the kitchen with executive chef Brent Turnipseede. Since Turnipseede hails from the South, you'll find hints of country cooking as well as subtle and unusual ingredients integrated into nearly every dish. American Elm is currently offering weekly packages beginning at $60, along with cocktail kits so you can sip American Elm quality in the comfort of your own home.

Best To-Go From a James Beard Winner


Scott Lentz

Looking for a special dinner? Consider Feast on the Fly, the special to-go menu now offered by Rioja. While the offerings change often (watch for the short ribs!), chances are good that your meal will be cooked by Jen Jasinski, who in 2013 became the first Denver chef to win the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Southwest award. (She and partner Beth Gruitch are up for top honors in the Best Restaurateur category this year, but that contest is currently on hold.) To accompany your award-winning meal, you can buy bargain bottles of wine, or pick up a favorite cocktail once served at Euclid Hall, the eatery around the corner that Gruitch and Jasinski closed March 16. Rioja is currently working on delivery, but Larimer Square looks lovely, even when it's deserted.

Best Place to Stock Up on Creature Comforts

Marczyk Fine Foods

Courtesy Marczyk Fine Foods

Once you've found your secret grocery store that always seems to have the essentials, head to Marczyk for the finer things in life. Fresh-baked breads, butcher's cuts of pork, beef and lamb (plus housemade sausages), and grab-and-go foods are only the beginning. Shelves filled with sauces, condiments, canned goods and, yes, even milk and eggs, will help you take your mind off the world outside. Don't linger too long, though; other shoppers need their special space, too. Both locations of the neighborhood markets are open daily.

Best Ethiopian Restaurant and Market


Lori Midson

We're big on Megenagna because it's just as easy to come for a light lunch as for a family feast. The veggie combo is just right for a midday to-go meal, with colorful dollops of stewed lentils, peas, greens and shiro wot (made with chickpea flour), all loaded with complex spices and seasoned butter atop dark, earthy, tangy injera bread. Kitfo, minced and seasoned beef, is the specialty of the house; it comes in several regional varieties, and there's even a vegetarian version made with collard greens and soft housemade cheese. Add an Ethiopian coffee for a well-rounded experience. The restaurant is now open for takeout, and the market next door offers an assortment of Ethiopian specialty items and butcher-counter meats.
Penelope Wong

If you haven't been following chef Penelope Wong's scarlet-and-black food truck around town, you'd better start — stat — because you're missing out on some of the best food in Denver, period. The chef loads steamers full of dumplings and pans full of potstickers; garlic-chile wontons, pan-fried soup dumplings, and adorable bao in the shape of pigs and pandas are all on the menu. In the coming weeks, Yuan Wonton will offer pre-order service and then appear occasionally at locations with parking lots big enough to allow pick-up from your car window. Check @penelopewong and @yuanwonton on Instagram for updates.

Launched in 2016, the Denver Central Market is more than just an overly ambitious food court: The various vendors sell baked goods, meats, specialty foods and pantry items for home use, and the restaurant counters offer pizza, sandwiches, charcuterie boards, raw oysters, ice cream, coffee and other breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes. The market is a vibrant grocery stop for a fast-paced neighborhood, and it's still open for business, even though you can't dine inside.

The GrowHaus has been an ambitious oasis in the food deserts of north Denver for the past decade. Despite facing a double shutdown challenge (its building, housing a greenhouse and community market, was forced to close in February due to structural issues), the GrowHaus isn't about to stop helping now. Instead, it's expanding its CSA-like food program, which delivers boxes packed with local organic veggies, fruit, eggs and bread to the doorsteps of Denver residents every week. Basic memberships start at $15 to $20 per week and will help the nonprofit fund other efforts to combat food insecurity, including delivering free emergency food packages to residents of the 80216 zip code.

Community Supported Agriculture has always been a great idea, helping farmers survive by essentially investing in their farms while providing customers with a regular supply of vegetables fresher and brighter than any found in the stores during normal times, much less these — as well as an occasional new item to sample and experiment with. The folks at Aspen Moon Farm are dedicated organic growers who use biodynamic techniques to raise everything from bok choy in spring to raspberries in fall — and a host of gorgeous vegetables in between. Cost for a weekly share is $700, or $375 for biweekly. Sign up now, then get ready to start picking up orders this spring.

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