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Pizzeria Locale celebrating a year in Denver today with a real deal

Pizzeria Localeat 550 Broadway will celebrate its first birthday today with a special fundraiser -- and customers are getting the present. From 6 to 10 p.m. tonight, Pizzeria Locale will mark one year in Denver with a "Pay What You Can" special, offering free pizza, side dishes and desserts -- including the award-winning budino -- in exchange for customers paying what they want -- with all proceeds going to the Colorado Education Initiative.

See also: Picnics, parks and free ice cream on the culinary calendar this week

It's been a big year for this Pizzeria Locale, a fast-casual variation of the Neapolitan-style pizzeria of the same name in Boulder, founded by Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine. When Gretchen Kurtz reviewed the spot in September, she called it "Pizzeria Locale, Steve Ells-style, where you order at the counter and watch a line of white-shirted, red-hatted employees spoon toppings from metal containers onto dough that's loaded onto the spinning oven floor." The result was consistently delicious pizza coming out of that oven in just two minutes. "The concept behind Denver's Pizzeria Locale sure has its strong points," she concluded. "How far can Patterson, Stuckey and crew take it? God only knows."

We found out a few months later, when the partnership between Ells and the Pizzeria Locale founders went public, with plans to expand the concept to northwest Denver for starters. "The combination of the two businesses working together is a very lethal combination," Mackinnon-Patterson told us. "Chipotle is the best in the business at feeding people on a larger scale with the same kind of ingredients we use at Frasca."

And they could be feeding a lot of people during tonight's fundraising deal. Happy birthday, Pizzeria Locale. Here's to many more birthdays and locations.

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For information on dozens of culinary events around town, visit our online Food & Drink listings -- and if you have information for a culinary event you'd like included in our online calendar, send it to cafe@westword.com.

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