Two years ago, when Mark Dym, his wife, Kristy, and their three kids left the balmy beachfront of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the jagged mountain peaks of Colorado, to open a pizzeria in downtown Denver, Mark was up for the challenge, despite the fact that he'd never run a restaurant in his life. "I knew exactly what I wanted to do, I'd been thinking about it for years and it was time to get out of Florida," he says.
In June 2008, Mark and Kristy opened Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria at 2129 Larimer Street, and yesterday, the couple celebrated the success of the past year by generously paying it forward. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the day's sales went to the Boys and Girls Club of Denver. "People have been extremely good to us," explains Mark, "and we thought this would be a great way to show how much we appreciate the support of the community."
Mark had a few other shout-outs, comments and rants and raves about the past 365-plus days, so we sat down over scampi pizza, strawberry tiramisu and chocolate chip cannolis and he talked, while I listened. Here's what he had to say:
The biggest surprise...was watching people come in for lunch and then seeing them again at dinner that same day. I kid you not. People were coming back twice within 24 hours. I can't even tell you cool that was to see.
My clientele...is everyone from the floor sweeper at the pawn shop next door to Charlie Monfort, the owner of the Colorado Rockies. I love that this is the kind of place where everyone feels welcome. My guests are truly wonderful people.
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Biggest pain in the ass...was the piece of shit I bought the building from. I bought the building form Bob and Kris Cox and they totally screwed me financially on the contract, leaving me to find the money to open a restaurant that they had promised to support financially.
Opening the restaurant...was the result of something that I've always wanted to do. Until Marco's, I'd always gone for the money, and I hated every second of it. Now I come to work every day because I really love my job. I love showing up every day. This is the first time in my life that where I have a job that I can't wait to come to. There's nothing I don't love about this business.
I'm hoping for...another amazing year. This year turned out so well. No one knew us to start with and no one thought we would make it in this neighborhood, but converting some of those naysayers into our biggest supporters has really made my year. Next year? I'm hoping for more of the same.
I'm scouting...for a new location. I was looking at the Chipotle space in Cherry Creek, but the deal fell through, so now I'm back on the hunt.