The midterm elections may be a blip in the rearview mirror, but Denver remains a battleground. Only instead of politicians vying for voters, restaurateurs are fighting for guests. This is especially true in the pizza business, where the campaign remains as heated as the thousand-degree ovens behind the parties' blistered, Neapolitan-style pies.
Pizza has been a hot-button item for years, ever since the economic downturn prompted chefs to explore foods that wouldn't break the bank. For decades before that, however, it was a more common crowd-pleaser: something delivered to your door when you didn't feel like cooking, a staple at kids' parties to be eaten before cake, an easy bar accompaniment to a pitcher of beer. In Denver, Proto's Pizza helped usher in the new era of more gourmet pies, followed by Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria and Kaos; these, along with many other pizza emporiums, have solidified their fan bases over the years. The current race is between two newcomers: Pizzeria Locale and Cart-Driver.