Ernie's Bar & Pizza serves pies to friends and neighbors

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When Larimer Associates envisioned Ernie's Bar & Pizza, the new/old restaurant that opened last December at 2915 West 44th Avenue, they hoped it would become a neighborhood spot. And they did their best to ensure it, by designing the space in a way that would encourage patrons to use it however they liked -- for family reunions, for dates, for a place to get work done outside of the house -- drawing on the lessons they'd learned at such ventures as LoHi SteakBar, 3200 Tejon Street, and Billy's Inn, 4403 Lowell Boulevard,

Their attention to detail paid off: The neighborhood has embraced Ernie's. And I was ready to, too, so long as I could find one thing on the menu I liked, something I'd want to frequently go back for.

And as it turned out, finding that dish wasn't hard. Sean Kelly, who signed on with Larimer Associates to be an operating partner and chef at LoHi, signed on for Ernie's, too. To craft the menu, he drew on a background that includes slinging pizzas in a New Jersey parlor. Today, Ernie's kitchen turns out ten-inch and twenty-inch pies loaded with both classic and inventive flavor combinations. I liked the renditions with blue cheese and caramelized onions, prosciutto and oven-roasted tomatoes, but my favorite was something stranger.

Find out what that combo was tomorrow when my review, along with a slideshow of more photos from Ernie's, will be posted here.

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