Word of Mouth

Hops & Pie will be joining fellow new kids on Tennyson Street

How happening is Tennyson Street these days? The pay-what-you-want Comfort Cafe opened at 3945 Tennyson Street a couple weeks ago and The Hole, a doughnut house, is slated to open any second (though by the looks of it, it's probably more like any week) at 3877 Tennyson. Between those and old standbys like Brasserie Felix and Big Hoss Bar-B-Q within the same two blocks, Tennyson Street is becoming a bona-fide restaurant row. Now just add pizza and beer to the list and the culinary circle is all but complete.

Come early September, that will be exactly the case, with the opening of Hops & Pie. The little spot, a former art gallery located at 3920 Tennyson Street, describes itself as an "artisan pizzeria and craft brew tap room."

Owners Drew and Leah Watson, both experienced chefs and restaurant industry veterans, have worked in restaurants all over the country, including Boston, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Cape Cod and, most recently, San Diego.

The couple recently relocated to Denver to settle down, be closer to family (Leah's brother lives here) and open up a place of their own. "We just decided it was time to do our own thing," says Drew.

The two will employ an artisan baking method for the dough -- which Watson describes as a two day process to get the most flavor out of the yeast -- and focus on unique and seasonal ingredients.

"Our whole shtick is everything from scratch," he explains. "We're using all the methods and things we've learned over the years and applying it to our favorite food, which is pizza."

Hops & Pie will serve East Coast-style thin crust pizza, pan pizza and a thinner, crispier variety of pie Watson describes as "artisan pizza," which will feature toppings that are "a little more off the wall" -- like white bean puree and pork shoulder -- "albeit much higher quality than, say, at Little Caesars," he says, laughing.

On the beer side of things, the restaurant will have 20 taps of handcrafted brews including Dogfish Head, Great Divide and Avery and a number of bottles too, such as those from breweries that don't ship kegs. The restaurant will serve a small selection of carefully curated wines as well.

Prices will be reasonable. A 14-inch pie will start at $8.50 and an 18-inch at $10.50. "We love what we do and we just want to share it with everybody. We don't want to price anybody out," says Watson.

Meanwhile, Watson's digging getting acquainted with the Denver dining scene. "I already knew I was going to love it here but I've been so pleasantly surprised," he says -- specifically referencing area hot spots Duo, Squeaky Bean (see also last week's "Happy Days are Here Again" article by Laura Shunk) and Venue. "There's just so many great places. I haven't had a bad experience yet."

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Jessica Chapman
Contact: Jessica Chapman