The current pizza scene is so hot, in fact, that we had to set some ground rules in order to narrow this list down to ten. We opted to stick with brick-and-mortars that serve pizza every day they're open — though there are plenty of specials, pop-ups and food trucks worth your attention, such as Taglio Tuesdays at Coperta, when it serves Roman-style pies, and the offerings from Get Sauced, Pizza Limbo and Simply Pizza.
While old-school pizza spots that serve more traditional New York-style pies hold a nostalgic place in the hearts of many Denver diners, the newer joints have really stepped it up in terms of technique and quality of ingredients. And there are some solid slice-centric options that work particularly well after a drink (or five), too, but we eliminated them from consideration for this list and focused on expertise in whole pies.
Here are my picks for the ten best places to eat pizza in metro Denver this year, in alphabetical order (with an extra spot that's worth the drive):
Blue Pan Pizza3930 West 32nd Avenue
3509 East 12th Avenue
Detroit-style pies, known for their rectangular shape and caramelized cheese edges, have become so popular in recent years that even Pizza Hut has sliced into the trend. Chef Jeff “Smoke” Smokevitch and partner Giles Flanagin introduced the city to the finer points of this regional style when they opened the first Blue Pan in West Highland in 2015. That location has since expanded its dining room, and Blue Pan opened a second outpost in Congress Park, too, making it easier to get your hands on these pies built on an airy, crackly crust with Wisconsin brick cheese, a thick, tangy sauce and premium toppings. Blue Pan also offers a gluten-free pizza, a New York style and a cracker-thin Chicago style.Bonus: Blue Pan is opening a third location in Golden in 2023.
Cart-Driver2500 Larimer Street
2239 West 30th Avenue
cart-driver.com The 2014 opening of Cart-Driver in RiNo ushered in a wave of Neapolitan pizzas. These perfectly charred wood-fired pies shine whether you opt for a simple margherita (called the Daisy here) or a seasonal creation, loaded with ingredients like clams and pancetta or delicata squash and pecorino. A meal in the tiny, original shipping-container location is an intimate yet lively experience, while the newer outpost in LoHi is a little more spacious and low-key.
Bonus: You can pair your pizza with tinned fish and oysters.
The Greenwich3258 Larimer Street
In 2021, owner Delores Tronco and chef Justin Freeman opened this homage to New York City. While it's far more than a place for pizza, the pies stand out thanks to an expertly made sourdough crust loaded with toppings that push traditional boundaries, such as pickled pineapple and bacon jam, or whipped mascarpone, Gruyère and creamed leeks.
Bonus: The Greenwich also excels at seasonal veggies, so skip the boring iceberg and olive salads that most pizza places serve and pair your pie with delectable options like smoked cabbage or braised greens with za'atar-spiced yogurt.
Hops & Pie3920 Tennyson Street
Not only is Hops & Pie one of the best beer bars in the state and a favorite for its rotating sandwich-of- the-week special, but it stepped up its pizza game when it transitioned to an all-sourdough menu in September 2022. Now it offers three styles of pies made with naturally fermented dough. Choose from New York style, a thicker, pillowy Sicilian pie or square-cut Detroit style, complete with a light and buttery crust with crispy, cheese-covered edges and a superb sauce on top.
Bonus: On Thursdays, a Detroit-style cheese pie is just $7 (additional toppings are extra), one of the best pizza deals in town.
Joy Hill1229 South Broadway
joyhilldenver.com Co-owners Julia Duncan Roitman and Andy Templar set out to open a cocktail bar that happened to have pizza, but Joy Hill made its debut just days before the pandemic shut down all indoor dining in March 2020. As a result, it leaned on its pizza to stay in business — and that paid off. Made with such ingredients as heirloom wheat from Dry Storage, locally sourced bison and seasonal produce, and hand-stretched mozzarella made in-house, these are some seriously high-quality pies. But the kicker is the char-specked, light and airy sourdough crust, which is wood-fired and best enjoyed with a drizzle of honey or a dunk in green chile ranch.
Bonus: Joy Hill also has a killer cocktail and wine selection, plus one of the best rooftops in town.
Marco's Coal Fired
2129 Larimer Street, 303-296-7000
10111 Inverness Main Street, Englewood, 303-790-9000
marcoscfp.comWhile many local pizza pros credit Cart-Driver for being a catalyst for upping the quality of Denver's pizza scene, Marco's Coal Fired has been churning out Neapolitan-style pies on Larimer Street since 2008. After a brief attempt to rebrand to avoid confusion with a chain by a similar name, Marco's returned to its original moniker — and it's always been a consistent source of bubbly, charred pies that cook in just sixty seconds in a 900-degree oven.
Bonus: Need a pick-me-up? Order a Stabilizer shot, a caffeine-boosted favorite of the industry pros who work in the area.
1990 Wadsworth Boulevard, Lakewood
pizzerialeopold.com Husband and wife Chris and Lindsay Lyons purchased the three-decade-old Deli Italia in 2018 and saw the potential to transform it from an Italian market to a full-service restaurant with an expansive menu that includes subs, appetizers, salads and a retooled version of pizza. In August 2022, the couple rebranded the eatery as Pizzeria Leopold, named for their son, who was born just after the restaurant reopened following the mandated pandemic shutdown of indoor dining in March 2020. Today the Lyonses pride themselves on running a truly mom-and-pop-style pizzeria where everything is made from scratch — something that comes through in every bite.
Bonus: You can also pick up imported Italian specialties for home cooking from Pizzeria Leopold's deli case and small market.
Pizzeria Lui5380 West Mississippi Avenue, Lakewood
pizzerialui.com Since Zach Parini opened the low-key, no-frills Pizzeria Lui in 2017, it's gained a lot of loyal fans. While trying to keep up with the increased demand for takeout during the pandemic, Parini made the tough choice to swap out his wood-fired oven — in which he could only make four pies at a time — for an electric version that increased the capacity to fifteen at a time. The result is a pie that holds up better during travel but doesn't lose any of its charred, Neapolitan-style appeal if you decide to eat in. Another thing that hasn't changed: Parini's commitment to using the highest-quality ingredients, like Palisade peaches (when they're in season) for an ultra-popular summer seasonal pie, and his dad's homemade sausage, which he's been helping to make since childhood.
Redeemer Pizza2705 Larimer Street
redeemerpizza.com When Spencer White and Alex Figura, the owners of fast-casual pasta hit Dio Mio, started toying with the idea of getting large deck ovens in order to expand their baking capabilities, the concept morphed into a pizza place. Redeemer debuted in the summer of 2021. An entry through the back alley marked by a neon slice sign leads to the slice window, where you can pick up one of that day's specials: New York-style and thick Sicilian options are both available. In the front dining room, you can order whole pies along with appetizers, wine, cocktails and more. All of the pizza is made on naturally leavened crust with just a faint sourdough tang, and Redeemer mixes its artisan approach to dough with classic, craveable components like ooey-gooey low-moisture mozzarella. Don't forget to order sides of both the hot honey and the dilly ranch.
Bonus: The weekly specials are often super inventive; recent offerings have included a play on green bean casserole and a burger-inspired pie with beer cheese and secret sauce.
White Pie1702 Humboldt Street
whitepie.comThis Uptown spot, which also has a location in Colorado Springs, is known for New Haven-style pizzas — on the thinner side and more oval than round. But you don't have to be familiar with the regional take to be impressed as you watch the chefs load pies into the wood-burning oven that is the centerpiece of the bright and airy space. Unsurprisingly, the white pies are stars, but so are the House Puff, a signature starter of ultra-puffy pizza dough, and the burrata and the meatballs. In fact, you might want to go with a group that likes to share lots of food.
Bonus: This is one of the few pizza places that serves brunch, including bottomless mimosas.
And last but not least, one extra, drive-worthy pie:
Rosalee's Pizzeria461 Main Street, Longmont
rosaleespizzeria.comLongmont might seem like a long way to go from Denver for pizza, but any hangups about the drive will disappear the moment you walk into Rosalee's and are welcomed like a regular. Owners Amy and James Ross met in culinary school and opened this East Coast-style spot in 2014. Now it's a cozy staple in the tight-knit community, where regulars come by just to kill time and share some beers and laughs with the staff. But strip all that away, and the pizza still stands as some of the best in the state, whether you opt for the classic, thinner round pies or thicker, Sicilian-like square version.
Bonus(es): The sausage knots, the chocolate pudding based on Amy's great-grandmother's recipe, the Prosecco on tap, and the smiles.