Need a break from chef duties and a win with the kids? The unifying dish many families turn to is pizza. At its most basic form, the bread, sauce, and cheese checks all the boxes for a less, say, refined or adventurous palate. But what are the places that level up the experience for the whole family? Colorado Parent did some carb loading in pursuit of quality taste, menu selection, and atmosphere. Read on to find your next go-to spot.
Most Unique Flavors:
The Lemon Ricotta pizza is a permanent feature, and just one of the many specialties, on Crush Pizza + Tap’s extensive menu. Go with the award-winning Sicilian crust on this one—you won’t regret it once you bite into the thick rectangle of buttery, crunchy bread. The rest is a smooth and lightly sweet blend of mellow cheese, fresh basil, garlic, and lemon zest. Other tempting picks include a pie piled “Mile High” with meats and Hot Mess featuring sopressata with pickled peppers, goat cheese, and honey. Highland, Denver. crushpizzatap.com
Honorable mention: Blue Pan Pizza’s 44 toppings (regular, specialty, and premium) are available for customers to concoct their own pizza masterpiece; they’re also employed to make delicious combinations like the 3-1-3 (ricotta, salami, and sweet piquante peppers). Order on their special caramelized Detroit style crust, or a Chicago cracker or New York thin crust. West Highland and Congress Park, Denver. bluepandenver.com
Best for Crust-lovers:
The twisted “mountain pie” crust at Beau Jo’s towers over the rest. Once you’re finished noshing on the lower portion of a slice, there’s still a hefty log of dough left. The best way to enjoy this bonus bready treat? A drizzle of honey from the bottle on the table. Order the mountain pie crust in Honey White or Agave Wheat; other crust styles include a medium “prairie pie.” Gluten-free and cauliflower crusts are available in 10-inch prairie pie style. Follow Beau Jo’s on social media for occasional family deals. Idaho Springs, Evergreen, Arvada, Longmont, Fort Collins, and Steamboat Springs. beaujos.com
Honorable mention: The crust at Walter’s 303 is buttery, has medium fluff, and a slight crisp, all of which make the final bits of bread just as satisfying as the whole slice. Uptown and Lowry Field, Denver; Bow Mar, Littleton; Colorado Springs. walters303.com
The Mici Handcrafted Italian M.O. is to keep families—especially kids—entertained through their dining experience. From entrance to exit, there are interactive features, including a window into the kitchen and a shiny gelato display. Dough balls are delivered to the table so kids can stretch and form an edible creation while they wait for their meals. By the end of dinner, the staff will have baked the dough art and served it up warm. If the plan is pizza at home, Mici has the little ones covered with their pizza kits for takeout and delivery. These include raw ingredients for a 10-inch cheese pie, instructions for baking, and an activity sheet. Congress Park and Central Park, Denver; Parker, Highlands Ranch, Lafayette, Colorado Springs. miciitalian.com
Honorable mention: Order a “Make Your Own Pizza” from Blue Pan’s Kid’s Menu. Staff delivers dough on a mini pizza peel plus sauce, cheese, and one topping ($8). West Highland and Congress Park, Denver. bluepandenver.com
Best Allergy/Special-Diet Friendly:
Ask for the “secret” menu at Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza to find a handful of vegan choices. The melted cheese is just fine but the main show is the toppings. The Rocket features a variety of veggies and a healthy drizzle of sweet and sticky balsamic vinegar. Don’t skip on the extra sprinkle of crumbly vegan Parmesan cheese, which provides a bit more flavor and welcome texture. Gluten-free crust is available to all who need or desire the option. Englewood and Five Points, Denver. marcoscfp.com
Honorable mention: Esters offers gluten-free bread from Canyon Bakehouse in Johnstown and pizza crusts from Sweet Escape Bakery in Longmont, plus various gluten-free and vegan menu items. Swap the cheese on any pizza with Peaceful Rebel vegan mozzarella (also from Denver). Park Hill and Virginia Village, Denver. estersdenver.com
Best Family Dine-in Experience:
Enter Deli Italia through a one-aisle market and ponder what grocery souvenir you or the kids might want to go home with: A package of lady fingers? Imported cookies from Italy? House made alfredo sauce? The dining menu brings all the market’s ingredients to life with a dozen sub sandwiches and hand tossed pizzas each (don’t sleep on the flavorful salads, either). Each pie’s delicate crust is slightly puffed and lightly crunchy and buttery; the cornmeal underneath adds some texture and a little flavor. Though the menu changes periodically, if you get the chance, try the Specktacular—a fresh tasting pizza with smoky cured ham, garlic, three types of cheeses, and spinach. Any of the extra toppings—premium meats and cheeses you’d expect from a nice deli—are worth a taste; they’re pricey but unique. The restaurant has a full bar and a casual atmosphere; it can serve as a relaxed date night spot, but doesn’t give off a “just adults” vibe. Lakewood. deliitaliapizzeria.com
Honorable mention: Homegrown Tap & Dough’s ski lift seats and a full service bar give it a special gloss. The wood-fired pizza has a fairly thin crust with medium crunch, plus fresh and locally sourced ingredients, and the whole menu, including the Kids Korner, has several other options in case someone’s had enough pizza. Arvada, Littleton, and Washington Park, Denver. tapanddough.com
Best Dessert Pizza:
Technically, this one’s a calzone. But ample filling and a fluffy bread vessel make Frontroom Pizza’s dessert calzones a winner. Choose from three options: hot fudge (very rich!), apple pie (how’d they get so many slices in there?), and seasonal. All are about the size of two iPhone 12 Pros stacked, and come with a scoop of refreshing vanilla ice cream. After a few pizza slices and a trip to the salad bar, you’re going to want to split these sweet treats with your favorite family member. Lakewood. frontroompizza.com
Honorable mention: Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza serves up a decadent Nutella pie. The crust is ultra thin and encases the gooey good stuff. Eight small slices are plenty to share between two or three people (unless you’re ready for a toothache), and the kids will love the dusting of powdered sugar on top. Englewood and Five Points, Denver. marcoscfp.com
Best Date Night:
On the quaint South Pearl Street, Kaos Pizzeria serves up crave-worthy wood-fired pizzas with a relaxing atmosphere. Enjoy a romantic night in the lush garden patio. The extensive wine and beer list is sure to please parents on a kid-free outing. Kaos’ pizza crust is made with imported Italian flour, baked to a mix of a crisp and chewy base for toppings, which range from the expected—pepperoni, green pepper, pineapple—to the elevated—goat cheese, pulled pork, arugula. All are Colorado-sourced whenever possible to support the garden-to-plate foundation of the menu. Gluten free crust and dairy free cheese cater to special diets. Keep in mind that there are no reservations on Fridays and Saturdays; plan accordingly. Platt Park, Denver. kaospizzeria.com
Honorable mention: Cart-Driver’s date night package at the Highland location takes the guesswork out of the evening. For $65, it comes with a farm greens salad, bread and butter, a simple Daisy pizza (like a margherita pizza, with upgrades available), a bottle of wine, and chocolate cremeaux. Highland and Five Points, Denver. cart-driver.com
Perfect Pair Salads
These fresh tosses will help you get some green into the meal, and love doing it.
- Hops&Pie’s Roasted Pear: mixed greens, toasted pine nuts, roasted pears, red onion, goat cheese, raspberry vinaigrette
- Piccolo’s South Western Cobb: mixed greens, grilled chicken, black beans, black olives, roasted corn, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado, hard boiled eggs, cheddar jack cheese, chili-lime dressing
- Brooklyn’s Finest’s Spinach Salad: spinach, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, red onions, feta cheese, Italian dressing
Pizza for a Cause
Pay for your pie knowing the dollars you spend support a good cause. These restaurants build community care into their models.
Sexy Pizza: Order from a selection of “philanthro-pies” and Sexy Pizza will donate a portion of the proceeds to community partners including Project VOYCE, a youth-driven leadership and advocacy training program, and the Harm Reduction Action Center, for reducing the harms associated with drug use. The Denver-based joint also takes care of its employees with health and dental coverage, a 401(k) retirement plan match, and paid time off.
Mici Handcrafted Italian: Each year, Mici donates more than $70,000 of value to local schools and children’s organizations through dining for dollars fundraisers, in-kind donations and sponsorships, and catering discounts for large orders including fundraisers and school lunches.
Crush Pizza + Tap: Denver is expensive, so Crush found a way for the community to support their kitchen staff. A three percent “living wage” addition to each bill goes directly to workers to equalize employee wages and ease the stress of the ever-rising cost of living in the city.
Kids Eat Free Nights
Pizza night isn’t reserved for Fridays; not when there’s free deals like these during the week.
- Mici Handcrafted Italian: Mondays after 4pm with an adult purchase. Dine-in only.
- Esters: Monday nights at Oneida Park; Tuesday nights at Neighborhood Pub on South Holly.
- Frontroom Pizza: Tuesdays 5 p.m. to close, with a large pizza or adult entree purchase.
- Oblio’s Pizzeria: Sunday nights, order a 12-inch, two-plus topping pizza and get one free kids’ pizza, or get two free kids’ pizzas with a 16-inch, two-plus topping pizza.