On a chilly December day in 2015, Mark Dym stood on the sidewalk outside his restaurant at 2129 Larimer Street, watching workers take down the Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria sign. The place wasn't going out of business, but was changing its name to Racca's Pizzeria Napoletana; that name change came in part because a pizza chain from Ohio with a similar name had begun setting up franchises in Colorado.
But now Dym has made the decision to ignore any confusion created by that other chain and return his restaurant to its original name. (The Marco's Pizza franchise outpost at 2207 East Colfax Avenue closed in February; five more remain in the area.) Already the big sign above Racca's has been swapped out, and by this Wednesday, July 19, all branding will be returned to the Marco's name.
"The bottom line is it's just because we missed it," Dym explains. "It's who we are; it's our identity."
Dym and his wife, Kristy, opened Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria in the Ballpark neighborhood in 2008 before adding locations in Englewood in 2011 and at Colorado Mills last year. All three will become Marco's, although currently the Colorado Mills outpost (at 14500 West Colfax Avenue) stands closed because of a devastating May hailstorm.
In fact, May was a bad weather month for Dym, who says he was on his way to the Colorado Mills restaurant to inspect the damage when he got a call from the Englewood pizzeria (at 10111 Inverness Main Street) saying that the restaurant had flooded. A drainpipe in the apartment complex above that Racca's had burst and dumped hundreds of gallons of rainwater into the place. Dym says it took a month to clean up and reopen, and he's still not sure when repairs will even begin on West Colfax. "Colorado Mills is so totally out of my hands that I don't even think about it anymore," he admits.
The re-re-branding will come with some new dishes and new ingredients, Dym says; the signs and menus that have been in storage for the past year and a half will be given a new life, too. And he'll use a scheduled dinner on August 14 — part of the Denver 5 series in which he's involved — as a kind of grand-reopening celebration for Marco's.
The Dyms also own a fourth Racca's in Casper, Wyoming, which will keep the Racca's moniker. Since that place is only a year old, Racca's is the only name its customers have ever known.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.