Growing up in Denver, I thought pizza was defined by Pizza Hut, Domino's, and the cult-like chant of Little Caesars': "Caesar! Caesar!" My family preferred Pizza Hut to Domino's, but due to economic difficulties often opted for Little Caesars' two-for-one square pizza deal with free soda.
But, on special occasions, we dipped into the kitty and sprang for Anthony's Pizza and Pasta. Anthony's was a pioneer of New York-style pizza in Denver, and for a 10-year-old kid it was amazing. Now it's not so much since I can compare it to the real thing, but it's still okay.
Despite Denver's attempts at making New York-style pizza (and they do try; Famous Pizza, in comparison, is another popular chain that doesn't make bad pizza, just not true New York-style pizza), I was shocked to come across a place that really, really wanted to push Brooklyn pizza—Fuhgidabowdit, which is owned by two former New York City cops.
The "graffiti" decorated walls glowed under the fluorescent lights, and one lone cheese pie sat under a glass counter. Given, this joint is located next to Denver University and I went during a holiday week, so that might justify the lack of excitement at Fuhgidabowdit, but it didn't excuse the actual taste of the pizza. A basic slice cost $2.43 (tax not included), and if you wanted a topping like ham, beef, garlic, pineapple, or jalapeños, they slapped it on unceremoniously.
Now, some people say New York pizza gets its amazing taste because of the water. If that's true, Denver surely doesn't have it. My slice came out piping hot—a good sign, right? It looked good, too, with the gentle bubble of air-filled dough rising in the corner. I bit in, and, oh! Oh. Flavorless. Hot and boring.
The crust was too thick and stiff as a board. The cheese was clumpy and didn't fight me in gooey, succulent strings like Stromboli, one of my favorite pizza places in the East Village. I was dismayed that there was no garlic powder around, so I added a good amount of crushed red pepper to it. But even after that, the slice tasted as if the Olive Garden had decided to open a pizza parlor.
Woe is me! Please, Denver, stop trying to make New York-style pizza. Just stick with what you know, like Beau Jo's Colorado style pizza, which is a hearty, thick pie full of chunky ingredients with a crust so moist and plump that you can pull it off and dip it in honey for dessert. Now that is what you should get in Denver.
Brooklyn pizza? Fuhgidabowdit.