Amidst the wafting scent of pizza charring in a wood-fired oven, the first sense you get when meeting husband-and-wife owners Mark and Kristy Dym is that Racca’s byline “Pizza Fired by Passion” is no empty slogan.
As Mark Dym, former Wall Street guy and Brooklyn native-turn-pizzaiolo, regales you with stories of Racca’s serendipitous beginning in 2008, you can’t help get the feeling that he didn’t choose the pizza life, but rather the pizza life chose him.
And even though Dym trained under the best pizzaiolo craftsmen in the world and Racca’s is the only pizzeria in the state of CO to receive the coveted Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certification, he’s still reluctant to call himself a chef. Though he doesn’t explain why, I come to my own conclusion: pizzaiolos are in a separate, distinct class all their own.
For example, to say that Dym is meticulous about his ingredients and techniques would be an understatement. In addition to adhering strictly to rules of authenticity set in place by the VPN, from importing hand-built Italian brick ovens (weighing 5,500 pounds each) and specialized dough mixers to the use of ingredients meeting stringent standards, such as Antimo Caputo “00” flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and fior-di-latte or bufala mozzarella, he also duplicates the components of Brooklyn water with a filtration system to get the precise taste and texture (chew) of NYC’s famed bagels and pizzas.
In addition to its esteemed VPN certification and multi-award winning pies, Racca’s is a friendly pizzeria with servers who, reflecting the big-hearted generosity of the owners, make you feel like a regular your first time in. And the rustic brick digs welcome warmly with a contemporary feel even though the building is more than a century old.
Kick things off with Racca’s antipasto: a fine selection of carefully-cured, imported meats. The Mortadella—like butta, I tell ya.
Quality ingredients and unyielding simplicity carry over to the rest of the menu with dishes that will make you wish for the Italian nonna you never had.
Four-Cheese Lasagna with housemade meatballs and San Marzano tomato sauce. HASTA LA PASTA, people! Don’t wear white unless you like to live dangerously.
After eating Racca’s celebrated Limoncello Coal-Fired Chicken Wings with sweet Vidalia onions, fresh rosemary, and focaccia, you’ll wonder if there’s a bowl of wings somewhere out there thinking about you, too.
For gluten-free pies, Racca’s is best in town—hands down—offering a superb GF version of every pizza on its menu. Also among the GF entrée options is the Eggplant Rollantini with fresh Mozzarella, Ricotta, San Marzano tomato sauce, and crispy Prosciutto di Parma charred with the perfect hint of smokiness.
New to Racca’s happy hour menu are mixed Battilocchios: 3-in-1 pie-topias available daily from 3-6pm.
You can also home in on the flavors of a good meatball slider during happy hour. The bread! The balls! The cheese! The sauce! The sopping action that will ensue!
Sip on some peppery velvet Italian vino, the housemade Limoncello, or a dark and stormy li’l drink they call “The Stabilizer”—presumably for its parallel “upper” and “downer” properties—made with espresso, Bailey’s, and double espresso vodka, served chilled. Full disclosure: As a fan of coffee drinks, I simply cannot be left alone with these boozy li’l bangs and be trusted.
It’d be a rookie mistake not to leave room for Racca’s dessert pizza: Sweet Pie-casso’s with crispy crusts and loverly centers, including Nutella with powdered sugar and cocoa or Dolce with sweetened ricotta, clover honey, and toasted almonds.
So, if you want to crank your pizza game way up without pulling out your passport, pop over to Racca’s for their often imitated but never duplicated Neapolitan pies. And afterwards, in the paraphrased words of Dr. Seuss, don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it was pizza.
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