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Brava Pizza rolls its wood-burning wagon on wheels into downtown Denver

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In the four hours that David Bravdica had been slinging pizzas, the skies rained, sleeted, snowed, dropped gropple and kicked up enough wind to blow flour from here to Tuscany, which is where Bravdica, a former airport manager, learned the art of making pizza -- pizza that he began peddling on the 16th Street Mall around 11 a.m. today. "We're definitely braving the elements on our first day out here, but we're cruising" says Bravdica, who set up his wood-fired pizza wagon, which he's named Brava!, in the small courtyard next door to the D & F Clocktower at 16th and Arapahoe. The pizzas, of which there are currently four variations, are shoveled into the 850-degree oval oven for about 90 seconds, and when Bravdica and his crew yank them from the embers of the smoldering Missouri oak wood, they're charred, bubbly and insanely delicious. "I spent nine months throwing pies in Italy," says Bravdica, who also went to culinary school at Cook Street School of Fine Cooking and had his wagon built in Boulder.

The majority of his ingredients, Bravdica tells me, also come from Colorado: The pepperoni and sausage are procured from II Mondo Vecchio, whose salumi is beyond amazing; the goat cheese is made at Jumpin' Good Goat Dairy in Buena Vista; the herbs are grown by Grower's Organic; and even the flour is sourced locally.

As for his sweet and creamy mozzarella, Bravdica buys the curds, but pulls it himself every day; the tomato sauce, which is judiciously smeared on the misshaped doughs, is unadulterated San Marzano fruit.

Bravdica has plans to add flatbread to his menu sometime within the next month, one of which will be made with porchetta from Il Mondo Vecchio, and, he says, he'll start doing pizza specials around the same time. "Right now," explains Bravdica, trying to catch his breath and keep his pizzas sheltered from the elements, "we're still trying to find our groove and work out the kinks."

To find out more about Brava!, and to inquire about hours (the cart currently operates during the week between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.), dial 303-619-0802.

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