Edited by Lesley Kennedy & Alison Gwinn
Pizza! Pasta! Fried chicken! Oh, my! Settle into fall with these three restaurants dishing up some seriously good comfort food.
East Coast-style pizza
If you ask us, everything is better with a sunny-side egg, so when we heard White Pie, a City Park West eatery specializing in New Haven-style pizza, was gaining a cult following for its signature pie—topped with crème fraîche, mozzarella, garlic, bacon, crimini mushrooms and said egg, we couldn’t wait to see if the Instagram-ready dish tasted as fab as it looked. We have three words: It’s wicked good.
Chef-owner brothers Kris and Jason Wallenta, who grew up in Connecticut and also run taqueria Dos Santos down the street, brought their hand-crafted, thin-crusted, oak-fired pizzas to Denver in May, also offering a mouth-watering list of pastas and starters (we loved the house puff, an oven-puffed crust served with whipped garlic rosemary butter, $5, and the creamy burrata, $13, paired with tomatoes and basil). Do yourself a favor and order the Lasagna al Forno, $15—10 glorious layers of pasta, Bolognese, béchamel and parmesan. “I can’t wait for leftovers for lunch tomorrow,” one of our dining companions said upon receiving it. Then she promptly finished off the whole dish. The Cacio e Pepe, $14, with bucatini, black pepper, parm and pecorino Romano, did a similar disappearing act.
The pizzas ($11-$16) come served asymmetrical, rustic, charred and crispy, and include red sauce versions, too (the Porky Porkorino is drool-worthy, topped with the house red, mozzarella, soppressata, pickled chiles and hot honey with just a spark of heat).
Wash it all down with a local beer, wine, house cocktail or, our fave, frosé (rosé, vermouth and strawberry puree, $12). Pizza and frosé? We’re never leaving.
1702 Humboldt St., 303.862.5323
As eagerly anticipated as a once-in-a-century solar eclipse (or at the very least the latest Adele album), Elise Wiggins’s Cattivella opened this spring in Stapleton’s Eastbridge Town Center, sharing the small, new pedestrian plaza with Lon Symensma’s Concourse, a new Next Door outpost and Troy Guard’s sizzling breakfast joint, Hashtag.
Wiggins, who previously worked her culinary magic at Panzano, has brought a fun, relaxed party atmosphere to her new chef-owned place, whose Italian name translates to “naughty girl.” How appropriate, as Wiggins serves as a proto-Perle Mesta, presiding over the open kitchen and its gargantuan wood-fired pizza oven(s) like the determined matriarch of a large Italian family. Her food is pure, simple and delicious, starting with a long list of antipasti (we tried the Mixed Heirloom Tomato Salad, $14, which includes melt-in-your-mouth buffalo mozzarella and micro basil, and the Grilled Romaine Salad, $10, which puts a standard Caesar to shame).
Pasta entrées include Lamb Ragu with pappardelle, $23; a baked cheese Pastichio, $24; and a sweet, flavorful ricotta ravioli, $18, so good we ordered it the next night to eat at home. Meat dishes include grilled chicken with rosemary potatoes and arugula, $19; steak and grilled fish of the day (market price); and grilled pancetta-wrapped shrimp, $32. As for the pizzas ($19-$24)? Evviva! We’ve tried them all, and Wiggins is five for five (our snobbiest food friend declared the mushroom and fontina version and the salumi Napolitana the best ’zas she’s ever eaten). Wish you could replicate this deliciousness at home? Wiggins offers monthly Italian cooking classes ($65-$125). Mangia!
10195 E. 29th Drive, 303.645.3779
THE POST BREWERY
Open since January in Rosedale, the little sister of Longmont’s Post Brewery serves up chef-owner Bret Smith’s crispy “Colorado-style” bone-in fried chicken and award-winning beer in a casual, family-friendly spot that has quickly become a neighborhood fave.
What makes this super-juicy bird so finger-lickin’ good: All-natural chicken is brined for hours, dipped in buttermilk, coated in seasoned gluten-free flour and pressure-fried. Hungry (or just lack self control)? Order a half-bird, $14, or the roasted half-bird, $13.50, while they last. For a group feast, try the 10-piece plate, $32, Family Love (whole fried bird, two large sides and four biscuits), $40, or the Big Bubba Family Love (Family Love times two), $74.
Also worth it: Chicken & Waffles, $14; buttermilk cheddar biscuits slathered in honey butter, $1; extra-creamy deviled eggs (four for $7), and crispy Brussels sprouts, $8, paired with a pepper jelly glaze and cotija cheese (so good). And if you don’t order the Green Chile Mac & Cheese ($4/$7), well, we just can’t be friends. After all that, save room for homemade whoopie pies or apple pie à la mode. Comfort food? Oh, yeah.
2200 South Broadway, 720.466.5699