After Tony's Market closed at 950 Broadway at the end of 2017, Mark Shaker, one of the developers of Stanley Marketplace, announced that he and his business partners would be building a new food hall called Broadway Market in the space. At the time, Shaker didn't have a list of food vendors who would occupy the eight or so counters inside the market, but now Denver restaurateurs are beginning to sign on. The first is chef Paul C. Reilly, chef/co-owner of Coperta and Beast + Bottle, who is teaming up with partners Aileen V. Reilly (Paul's sister and partner in both restaurants) and JP Taylor Jr. (the restaurant group's wine director) to launch Pizzeria Coperta, a Roman-style pizza and street-food concept.
The current Coperta, at 400 East 20th Avenue, specializes in regional Italian cuisine with a few specifically Roman dishes, including suppli al telefono — fried rice balls similar to arancini but with mozzarella cheese that forms strands of "telephone line" when pulled apart. Coperta doesn't serve pizza, even though Paul Reilly says it's his favorite food. With Coperta Pizzeria, he'll bring two styles of Roman pizza to the Golden Triangle, along with those suppli al telefono and a few other appetizers that will be served from one of the counters inside the food hall as well as from a walk-up window looking out onto Broadway.
The two styles of pie will be pizza al taglio, thick-crust pizza generally baked in large, rectangular sheet pans and served by the slice, and pizza Romana, individual thin-crust pizzas baked to order. "In Rome, you point to how much you want and they cut it with scissors, so it's basically pizza by the pound," the chef explains of the pizza al taglio. At Pizzeria Coperta, slices will be ready to order at the counter and will be topped with set combinations as well as seasonal ingredients.
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Pizza Romana is similar to Neapolitan pizza, but is thinner and crisper and takes a little longer to bake, since Neapolitan pizzas are cooked in wood-burning ovens at 800 degrees or more. Still, Reilly says his pizzas will cook quickly enough to fit in well in a fast-casual setting. Along with the pizzas and fried rice balls, customers will also be able to order fritto misto, mixed vegetables fried in a light batter.
"We're really looking forward to bringing some food to the neighborhood!" he adds.
Shaker's ownership group is going by the name Eclectic Collective, and also includes White Whale Room owner and Avanti Food & Beverage co-founder Brad Arguello, and Chris Haugen, a partner in White Construction Group, which has already built Stanley Marketplace, Zeppelin Station and the Source. They've also brought on Snooze co-founder Adam Schlegel as a consultant to bring together the remainder of Broadway Market's food vendors, so more chefs and restaurateurs will soon be joining in.