This spot sets itself up as one of those straight-outta-the-boroughs New York pizza joints the minute you walk through the door, and even before that, the minute you hear the name: Brooklyn M.C.’s Pizzeria. Like a fat kid picked on his whole life, suddenly coming back, junior year of high school, wrapped in a puffy coat and pants hanging off his ass, aching to look gangster enough to be left alone, M.C.’s has got the look: studied, practiced, dime-a-dozen. You’ve seen the place before. You’ve seen it a hundred times. Every pizza joint trying to get a little of that New York magic to rub off on it (including about half of those operating in the Big Apple itself) goes for exactly the same costume, which could have been picked up at some massive clearinghouse for last year’s Big City souvenirs, 9/11 tribute posters in aisle three, artfully distressed photos of the Empire State Building at night on clearance, three-for-a-dollar. The look is like a little piece of New York right here in Colorado. Or Boise, San Francisco, Little Rock. If not for the fact that M.C.’s lives in a strip mall in Littleton, next to a used-computer store and a Honey Baked Ham Company, you could walk out the door and right into Times Square, right onto Union Street. That’s the illusion.
And it’s bullshit, a gimmick I recognize the second I duck in on a Saturday afternoon. I instantly dismiss Brooklyn M.C.’s as just another strip-mall joint in a long line of strip-mall joints shooting for that flavor-of-the-old-neighborhood shtick, copycatting a style that’s a real style, but feels instantly false the minute it’s mimicked on the wrong side of the bridges and tunnels.
And then, almost as quickly, I’m second-guessing my dismissal…
Why? Because of the smell, because of the Wise potato chips at the counter, because something about the place -- some crossing vector of oven and dough and hard accent -- told me that maybe I ought to shut my mouth, leave my been there/done that prejudices at the door and just, for a change, eat some lunch.
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Good thing I did, too, because Brooklyn M.C.’s is awesome—as good a neighborhood pizza joint as anyone not on the East Coast could hope for, good enough that it makes me wish I lived a little closer to Littleton so I could eat there more often. I’ve been doing a lot of talking about pizza ‘round the office for the last week or so, and though there are plenty of people here who have their own favorites, their personal ideas of what is best, I’m sad to say that they’re all wrong. MC.’s is it. Get down there right now if you know what’s good for you.
Second Helping this week is also about pizza: at the Subway Tavern, one of Denver’s oldest pizza joints. I may have had better pizzas than the ones coming from the Subway kitchen, but I've never had anything quite like the Dago Dog.
In Bite Me, there's interesting news from Mel's -- and bad news from North Star. August is always a slow month in the business, but this year, it looks like it's going to be brutal.
I think I’ll head to M.C.’s for a pizza. -- Jason Sheehan