Ernie's Bar and Pizza starts tossing pies on Wednesday

"I finally gotta place in my neighborhood to come and get pizza now," says Rod Wagner, one of the partners involved with Ernie's Bar and Pizza, an East Coast pie palace from the owners of LoHi SteakBar (3200 Tejon Street) that opens Wednesday, December 2 in the former 3 Sons space at 2915 West 44th Avenue -- and in the former home of the original Ernie's, which opened in 1943. "We spent a lot of time crawling through pizza joints in New York to figure out what we wanted, and I think we've done a good job in bringing that here," Wagner says during a quick tour of the new place. "I just hope the neighborhood will like it as much as we do."
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What's not to like about individual-size ten inchers or family-size 20-inch brutes topped with prosciutto or prosciutto cotto? Or with Italian sausage from Polidori, handcrafted mozzarella, ricotta salata, chorizo, white anchovies, arugula or eggplant caponata? And what's not to like about an antipasto board that swaggers sweet and sour figs, Gorgonzola-stuffed queen olives, cherry peppers stuffed with provolone and prosciutto, or balsamic cippolini onions?

And, seriously, what's not to love about 30 beers on tap, another 30 in the can or bottle, an all-Italian wine list, Italian-inspired cocktails with names like "Bert" (ha, ha -- get it?), two daily dollar happy hours, a game room with Skee-Ball and pool tables, a 22-foot-long community table and a fireside lounge all pimped out in leather and Victorian antiques? "It's a real mixology of old and new," explains Wagner, who points out that the bar and most of the furnishings are salvageable architecture from all sorts of different places, including the now-closed Armory in Greeley and Penelope's in Crested Butte. "Most of what we have is from old bars," he tells me.

A bar that we can't wait to break in.

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