Giles Flanagin and Jeff Smokevitch opened Blue Pan Pizza at 3930 West 32nd Avenue last summer to nearly instant acclaim, thanks to a roster of regional pizzas highlighted by a thick, crusty, Detroit-style pie that has won over West Highland hearts and bellies. This was Smokevitch's second pizza joint, after his original Brown Dog Pizza in Telluride, and now Blue Pan is ready to expand, too. Flanagin says they've just signed a lease at 3509 East 12th Avenue in Congress Park.
The space was most recently the Mindful Bike and has no kitchen space, so a build-out will take time. "Our hope is to begin construction in late summer," Flanagin says.
The new Blue Pan will be considerably larger than the tiny original, with space for fifty inside plus additional patio seating, if the city approves the patio plan. The location comes with a basement, so Flanagin says a wine cellar will be added to offer a larger beverage program than at the original. A bigger kitchen means that he and Smokevitch will also be able to offer pasta, which is part of the program in Telluride but not at the West Highland pie shop.
While his stretch of East 12th lacks the restaurant density of West Highland — although there's a TAG Burger Bar just around the corner, and Little Man is opening a spot across the street — the neighborhood's demographics are very similar to those of West 32nd. But the new Blue Plan will also have onsite parking and there's a liquor store next door, adding convenience for takeout customers, he points out.
"We feel like we really got lucky here," Flanagin concludes. And if the new Blue Pan can keep up the quality that has made the original such a hit, Congress Park just got lucky, too.
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