Organic Pizza Company: Now tossing haute pies in Highland

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Organic Pizza Company, an eco-conscious take-and-bake pizza joint, opened on Friday at 4500 West 38th Avenue in Highland, the first of a forthcoming wave of organic pizza dens from partners Allen Milham and Darrell Naughton, who plan to open a second outpost in SPIRE Denver, 891 Fourteenth Street, in early November.

Kevin Mooney, a Denver-based caterer and former chef of the Palace Arms at the Brown Palace Hotel (he also did time at the Little Nell in Aspen), designed the menu, a short board of thirteen pizzas and a few salads. But the pizzas, which I sampled last week during a tasting, aren't your run-of-the-mill pies, unless, that is, you consider roasted pheasant, ground buffalo, Asian pears, tandoori chicken, smoked salmon, asparagus and cantaloupe ordinary pizza toppings. "I wrote down a list of every possible topping that I could think of and then made combinations that you wouldn't necessarily think would be on a pizza, but that I thought worked really well together," says Mooney. "Basically, I wanted to come up with combinations of unique ideas that would surprise people."

Like "The Donald," for example, smeared with vodka sauce and crowned with smoked duck, roasted red peppers, ribbons of scallions and sliced Asian pears. "My background is in fine dining, not pizza, which allowed me to think outside the box when developing the menu," notes Mooney, who's also a certified sommelier.

The pizzas, which are made with certified organic, organic and all-natural ingredients, are available for takeout or delivery and come with baking instructions and small baggies of fresh herbs. "One of the key things that we're doing is giving our customers fresh herbs -- cilantro, mint, basil, rosemary or Italian parsley -- depending upon which pizza they order, which is something that no other pizza place is doing," says Nathan Sharp, the company's food and beverage director.

Also noteworthy: Excess produce is donated to Metro CareRing, a Denver-based nonprofit that advocates for solutions to hunger and poverty, and ten percent of proceeds from each "Metro CareRing" pizza sold will also be given to the charity.

The crew has plans to open a total of seven Organic Pizza Company stores along the Front Range, including Washington Park, which, according to Milham, is next on the list after the SPIRE location starts tossing dough this winter.

In the meantime, the Highland store is open from 3 to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 2 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 2 to 8 p.m. on Sunday; the SPIRE location will have the same hours. For more info, call 303-561-1111, or click organicpizzacompany.net.

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