After debuting its first slice dispensary in Capitol Hill in the fall of 2008 (taking over the space once occupied by defunct Pizza Vera), then adding a South Pearl location in 2012, Sexy Pizza has become an unstoppable force in Denver, dipping its fingers into the pies of all kinds of local projects, from marijuana activism to stand-up comedy. Now set to open his third location in Jefferson Park at 25th Avenue and Elliot, Sexy owner and Denver Relief founder Kayvan Khalatbari has no intention of slowing down -- or ending the expansion of his brand into the arts and philanthropy.
"With the new location, we are going to add two new non-profit groups to the list of Sexy beneficiaries," says Khalatbari. "The Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Harm Reduction Action Center. I sit on the board of directors for Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra, and we're always looking for ways to increase visibility in the community and raise money for a group that does some amazing outreach to youth in Colorado."
The Harm Reduction Action Center is a needle-exchange program that fights for progressive, hygienic services and education for those involved with intravenous drug use. "We believe this is the next great public heath issue relating to drugs that needs to be remedied, after we're finished legalizing cannabis," he explains. "Addicts should not be treated as criminals or forgotten on our streets. They are people and deserve a place to be safe and to get help while they are dealing with the hell in their lives."
"The Jefferson Park/Highlands area has always been on our radar," Khalatbari continues. "We will be delivering north to I-70, east to I-25, perhaps River North as well, south to Sixth Avenue and west all the way to Sheridan. It's going to provide us with tremendous visibility. This neighborhood was actually our first choice before falling into the South Pearl location."
The South Pearl location has been very successful for Sexy Pizza, but did not come without some controversy. Beyond just the spicy name, Khalatbari's very public associations with marijuana advocacy groups like SAFER and his own Denver Relief ruffled the feathers of more conservative residents of the area. Does he anticipate a similar reaction in Jefferson Park?
"I suppose that is possible, but we're moving into a more up-and-coming neighborhood with the Elliot Street location, as opposed to the already established and more family-toned Platt Park," he replies. "Regardless, I think we've shown that a name is just a name, and behind that name Sexy Pizza is a positive, progressive and contributing member of the communities we occupy, for all the reasons I've just mentioned. If people can't be okay with that, fuck 'em."
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Sexy Pizza's Jefferson Park location is set to open on January 1, 2014.