George Eder, the exec-chef/owner of Pizza Republica, got started early in restaurants, tossing pizza dough at his uncle's joint. "I was washing dishes, flipping dough and making pizzas -- and I loved it, except for the fact that my uncle was incredibly secretive about his sauce," says Eder. "It was so damn good, but he never shared the recipe. Even now, he still won't part with it." After years working in other people’s restaurants, Eder opened Pizza Republica in Greenwood Village in 2008 and then brought the concept downtown in May 2013, opening a big, stylish Italian restaurant in front of the Colorado Convention Center, where residents and tourists alike can find “familiar and comfortable food done in a way that was truly authentic in style," he says. And while his uncle may not have parted with his secret recipe, his mother and grandmother were not as reluctant. This location gets bonus points for its big patio, a perfect spot for people-watching.