We're going to spare you any further rhyming couplets and just get to the facts: Existential Slices is a new walk-up pizza window that has taken over half of the Mr. Lucky's Fine Sandwiches at 711 East Sixth Avenue. The idea, according to the pizzeria's Instagram account, was "born out of the dumpster fire that is 2020."
Galen Juracek, owner of Mr. Lucky's, converted the dining room of his sandwich shop into Existential Slices as a way to get extra use out of the space while serving as the food component for nextdoor neighbor Don's Club Tavern, owned by the Little Pub Company. "After a few months of the dining room just sitting there empty, we determined it was serving no purpose," Juracek explains. "But we need to survive and Little Pub Company needs to stay open, so we function as their kitchen. Necessity is the mother of invention, right?"
The shop owner says he took some time to learn about pizza and purchased some used equipment to supplement what was already in the kitchen at Mr. Lucky's. He notes that making hot sandwiches isn't much different from making pizza, and that once he dialed in the dough and sauce recipes, the rest was just relying on good-quality toppings. He was already buying nearly all the ingredients he needed for toppings, and only had to source Italian sausage, mushrooms and the right kind of mozzarella (in addition to the dough and sauce ingredients).
Don's is famous for its eclectic vending machine, which is as likely to contain corn dogs or frozen chimichangas as cigarettes, condoms and lube. But COVID-related regulations currently require bars to have a far more robust food offering, so the partnership makes sense for both businesses. Juracek adds that Existential Slices is keeping the menu simple. There's one style of pizza — hand-tossed thin crust — available by the slice or in one size as a whole pizza. A whole pepperoni pizza rings in at $16, or you can choose any three toppings for $18. Slices run $4 each.
In keeping with the philosophical theme, Existential Slices is using an image of Jean-Paul Sartre — eating a slice of pizza instead of smoking a pipe — for its advertising, created in conjunction with Birdy magazine.
You can call 303-861-5825 or just stop by the window between 6 and 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and until midnight Thursday through Saturday, to grab yourself a slice. If you prefer your pizza with booze, order from the folks at Don's Club Tavern next door when you're in for a drink. Day drinkers can also order Mr. Lucky's sandwiches at Don's. That's a serious upgrade from that frozen chimichanga you were contemplating.