Exclusive first look: Pizza Republica opens tomorrow in the downtown theater district

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Pizza palaces, as we reported earlier today, are peppered throughout the downtown Denver restaurant landscape, and while some of those same pizzerias that opened within the past year have since shuttered, Pizza Republica, the original of which resides in the Landmark development in Greenwood Village, has proven that it has staying power (not an easy feat in the 'burbs). And tomorrow, at 11 a.m. owner and executive chef George Eder will open a second outpost of Pizza Republica at 890 14th Street, directly next door to the Colorado Convention Center, and given its prime location (and what may the city's best patio to date), we're willing to bet that downtown denizens will greedily chew it up (and not spit it out).

See also: - Round two with George Eder, exec chef of Pizza Republica - Pizza Republica's George Eder on grubs, Groupons and the guest who was aghast - Toppings is tapped out in LoDo, but two more pizza places coming

The 5,000-square-foot space, which trumpets a 4,000-square-foot fenced patio, complete with a 28-foot-high chimney with a bricked, two-sided fireplace, flaunts an open kitchen flanked by a wood-burning pizza oven completely impervious to heat and bordered by a Ferrari-red solid steel panel with hand-pinstriped grout lines. The bustling kitchen presides over the dining room and bar, the latter of which is walled with garage doors that open to the outside patio. Oak tables, constructed from recycled century-old barnwood, share space with moss green banquettes, a twelve-seat stone community table in the bar and a chef's counter that overlooks the cooks tossing -- and rolling -- doughs.

Designer lighting fixtures, most of them made in Italy, illuminate the space, including the bar area, which lays claim to an impressive, 160-bottle, all-Italian wine list and more than twenty grappas. "Rona Vanslyck, our general manager and sommelier went to Vin, Italy for the sole purpose of finding new wines and grappas for us, and we have an amazing selection of both," says Eder, who notes that the beer program is formidable, too, with four brews on tap (Moretti and local drafts) and an additional fourteen in bottles, including local microbrews and Belgians.

Those of you who have been to the Landmark location will find this space familiar, and Eder stresses that the likenesses are intentional. "We have the same exact menu here as we do at Landmark, and the space is essentially the same, too, because we want to focus on consistency," he says, adding that once he gets the downtown location up and running -- a space, he says, that's "in the heart of a great cultural and food environment" -- he'll open more. "We're looking at Fort Collins, DIA and the Foothills," he reveals.

In the meantime, I stopped by Pizza Republica earlier this afternoon to tour the space and sample a few dishes from the menu, shooting photos along the way. Here's the gallery.

Pizza Republica is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., and for late lunch and dinner on Sunday, beginning at 3:30 p.m. By the way, there's $4 parking in the convention center garage for diners of Pizza Republica, which is a helluva lot cheaper than the $15 lot across the street. For more info about Pizza Republica, or to make reservations, call 720-489-2030.

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