Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria is a bright light in a former black hole. It also happens to serve the only almost-cracker-crust pies that interest me in Denver.
Still, there are other good pizzas to be found, including at the Oven, which has won the Best Pizza prize in the Best of Denver for several years now. But that's no guarantee it will win again in March 2009, because this town has plenty of other good pies. (You can vote for your own favorite in our online Best of Denver 2009 poll right now.)
So I've put together a list of the best pies in the area. A week's worth, in fact, offered without classifications -- no thin-crust versus Chicago-style -- but simply as the best examples of the pizzaiulo's art. And in no particular order, they are:
Monday: Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza (2129 Larimer Street). Don't listen to the haters. When the pizza guys at this place are on their game and the ovens doing their magic, these are some of the best 'za's to be had in this pizza-deficient area code.
Tuesday: Anthony's (two dozen metro locations). Since Anthony's started with one little spot off the 16th Street Mall, it has grown into two dozen locations over as many years. The product will vary wildly depending on the location, time of day, phase of the moon or whatever. But hey, it's a Tuesday, right? Just be glad you don't have to cook for yourself, and head to your nearest Anthony's.
Wednesday: Brooklyn MC's (8086 West Bowles Avenue, Littleton). Killer New York-style pizzas cut into huge, foldable slices, with good root beer floats to boot. Eat your slice in the NYC-adorned dining room or take it on the hoof.
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Thursday: The Oven (7167 West Alaska Drive, Lakewood). Awesome artisan pies from Mark Tarbell, a pizza savant and the guy behind Tarbell's in Phoenix. Every single thing on this menu is good, from the pizzas to the apps to the beers on tap. And there's even a walk-up window on the street, so you can just get your grub and run.
Friday: Wazee Supper Club (1600 15th Street). A beer, a shot and a pie on a Friday night? I'll see you at the Wazee.
Saturday: D Note (7519 Grandview Avenue, Arvada). Live music and pizzas named after dead rock stars -- that might sound awful, but get your first taste of the pies being made here and all objections just melt away. If, like me, you can't stand music interrupting your dinner, arrive early and get carryout.
Sunday: Buenos Aires Pizzeria (1319 22nd Street). One of the best pizza joints in town, with an international flavor (heavy on the Central and South American tastes) that works a lot better than it did at the late, lamented Pizzeria Mundo. And there's one more reason to check the joint out: Its sister restaurant, Buenos Aires Grill, is going dark in mid-February, so it's worth throwing a few bucks into this place make sure it survives until the next time you find yourself craving a pizza with egg, hearts of palm and chimichurri.