There are pizza joints, and there are pizza joints. Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria is the latter, and there are a variety of reasons that make it the best pizza joint in Denver.
Pizza is a pretty simple food, really. Some baked bread with a variety of veggies, meats and cheeses. Marco's serves two styles: New York Pies and Neopolitan - in fact, they're one of only 40 restaurants in the U.S. certified as an authentic Neapolitan restaurant by the Verace Pizza Napoletana. That's a lot of big words, but basically it means their pizzas are pretty basic (mostly tomato and mozzarella-based), fresh and generally amazing. They're cooked in a traditional coal-fired oven at a crazy high temperature – which translates to getting your food quicker and having a good mix of soft and crunchy crust (drool). I’m no foodie, so I won’t try to describe the ins and outs of Marco’s ingredients or cooking methods, but try the Sicilla if you’re into meat, or the Abruzzo if you’re a veg (or even if you’re not…the Abruzzo is on the top of my list regardless).
If you can, try not to fill up completely on pizza and sample some of the other greatness on the menu like the limoncello chicken wings or even the house salad (spring mix, mozzarella, grape tomatoes & balsamic). And do not, I repeat, do not leave without ordering a Nutella pizza for desert…I just started sweating while thinking about it. There’s a reason Marco’s was the top reader’s choice for pizza in this year’s 5280 Top of the Town.
Some other randomness that makes Marco’s great:
- The ballpark neighborhood location. It’s a great mix of LoDo, pawn shops, funky people, tattoos, local businesses and Rockies games. ‘Nuff said.
- Shiner Bock on tap. The pride and joy of Shiner, TX. These guys deserve their own post.
- The back patio. Which will remove you from the pawn shop clientele via 7-foot brick walls and patio lights for some ambiance. They even have heaters available for those chilly spring/fall Denver nights. Sit back with a Shiner and enjoy a Downtown Denver evening.
- The wine list. It’s not the top list in Denver, but its good wine to go with good food. Who can argue with that combo? Go with the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.
- The lunch special. A personal margherita pizza, house salad and a fountain drink for 9 bucks. Boom goes the dynamite.
- The wait staff. Friendly, helpful people who remember your name if you stop in a couple of times. Specifically, say hi to Marcel Alaniz (Sol) behind the bar and make friends with him…now. Find out why he was a 5280’s Reader’s Choice for Best Bartender in Denver.
I think I’ve painted the picture here, and I didn’t even mention the antipasto plate with reduced balsamic, Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma; or the gluten-free options. Good God…who wants pizza tonight?