There are two indisputable facts about Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza, the Neapolitan pizzeria that chef/owner Mark Dym opened with his wife, Kristy, on Larimer Street in 2008: 1) Dym makes some of the city's finest pies in any style, and 2) Having another pizza company named Marco's move into Denver could cause some confusion.
But now we can scratch one off the list: The Dyms have changed the name of the eatery, along with the younger Marco's in Englewood, to Racca's Pizzeria Napoletana.
Dym says that he and his wife picked the name Racca's as a short version of her maiden name, Latorraca. The new name also emphasizes the stamp of authenticity that makes the pizzeria unique in Colorado: It's the only pizza restaurant in the state with certification from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (or VPN), meaning that Dym's creations adhere strictly to rules of authenticity originally set in place by the VPN to guarantee the quality of pizzas made in Naples, Italy.
The new name will also extend to two new pizzerias that the Dyms are opening next spring, one in the Colorado Mills shopping center and the other in Casper, Wyoming.
Dym says he's been contemplating the name change since last summer, when his restaurant was awarded Independent Pizzeria of the Year by Pizza Today. With his plans to expand out of state and the Toledo, Ohio-based Marco's Pizza chain beginning to add more franchises in Colorado, confusion was growing among potential customers. A meeting with the mayor of Casper, Wyoming, in which the mayor said he'd eaten at Marco's — the wrong Marco's, it turned out — was the deciding factor.
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"We wanted to solidify our brand and our name," Dym explains. "It was a little scary — but it was the right time and the right decision."
He adds that "coal-fired pizza" never captured the essence of his dedication to Neapolitan-style processes and ingredients, and so he's more than pleased with the new branding. "It's a fresh look for a fresh and light product," he notes.
The door sign and neon at the original store have been updated with the Racca's name and Dym says the rest of the changeover should be completed by the end of the week.