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ZaZa's Pizzeria opens in the DU neighborhood

There are nearly a half-dozen pizzerias slated to pop up all over Denver within the next several months, including

Wazee Wood-Fired Pizza

, a new joint from celebrated New York chef and restaurateur Charlie Palmer that's

taking over a portion of the former Big Game space

. In addition, Slices will open in the Argonaut Liquors parking lot; a second Lucky Pie Pizza and Tap House -- the original location is in Louisville -- is planning to start

slinging slices in the old Dixons space

in February;

Parkway Pizza and Bar is taking up residence in the vacated Braun's Bar and Grill space

at 1055 Auraria Parkway, near the Pepsi Center; and Toppings -- a pizza buffet -- will open early next year in the St. Elmo building on the corner of 17th and Blake.

But Pete Kallas beat them all to the punch.

Kallas, who operates Steakhouse 10, the Athenian, Undici Ristorante and Greeks Gone Wild, opened ZaZa's Pizzeria at 2041 South University over the weekend, making it the first in a succession of pie palaces to come.

The brightly illuminated space, tricked out with black-and-white pizza prints and sporting an open kitchen, cherry-red chairs and a scarlet counter, is hustling salads, sandwiches, calzones, whole pies, pizza by the slice, and pastas, including spaghetti, baked ziti with three cheeses, lasagna and stuffed shells. There are several specialty pizzas, too, one of which is topped with Italian tuna, red onions, capers, mozzarella and fresh basil.

There's no bar seating -- and no liquor license -- but Kallas is working on it. In the meantime, you're sequestered with sodas, ice tea, lemonade, San Pellegrino bottled waters and Limonata. Here's hoping the neighborhood supports beer.

ZaZa's hours are Sunday through Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to midnight. For more info, call 720-242-6336.

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