Denver, CO

White Pie Pizza Turns up the Heat

Mile High and Hungry

Typically, pizzas are reserved for movie night – the times you’re tucked away in the fort you may or may not have made as a 20-something adult. Those moments are beloved. Now is the perfect time to revisit those cherished late nights and have White Pie take you into their kitchen for a reinvention of the pizza world as we know it.

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Outside of White Pie Pizzeria.Photo courtesy of White Pie.

The greeting from a smiling hostess sets a welcoming tone the minute you step into the White Pie pizzeria. A golden hour glow is there to greet you as the sun cascades through the windows from floor to ceiling. Space is constructed around a monumental brick pizza oven imprinted with white “W & P” letters that pop dramatically in contrast to the black tile laying around them. It is this masterpiece that is responsible for making their pizza extraordinary. Its ability to conduct heat so well ensures pizzas don't have to stay in the oven very long. When the pizzas escape the oven, the crust is left roasted and rippling with air pockets.

With a light, yeasted flavor that doesn't overpower the assortment of toppings featured above it, the crust’s light texture makes it seem easy to finish an entire pie yourself. The toppings add extra excitement to each pie and give them a unique personality. Nevertheless, it is the attention to basics that can also garner White Pie acclaim; their dough has crunch and chewiness that constructs a solid base for all pizzas.

White Pie is definitely the place to break from your average pizza order. It doesn’t overload you with cheese to the extent that you’d debate being lactose intolerant. Instead, sprinkles of fresh, pearly white mozzarella allow hints of red to poke through their cracks. The oven blisters the cheese and creates the appearance of a toasted marshmallow. Some parts are still white, but others have gotten just the right amount of roasting. The ruby sauce tastes like biting into a tomato after plucking it straight from the vibe. Then, threads of basil make the Italian flag come alive as they are scattered around the pie. With only four ingredients, White Pie gives a pure representation of what pizza should be. This simple rendition can be found on their thin or recently added sicilian-style.

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Sicilian Style Pizza.Photo courtesy of White Pie.

From there, they go beyond the realms of tradition and bring you an unlikely flavor combination. White Pie is one of the only places I’ve seen feature clam on their pizza. Chefs may mix them with fettuccine or fry them, – because everything has to be fried at least once – but they are rarely taken away from the comforts of their shells. Nevertheless, the small little gems might not seem like they belong on a classic Italian dish. Their salty, sweet flavor plays well with the nutty notes of parmesan and fruitiness of olive oil. It almost replicates the mix of the two types of clam chowder featured on the East coast. However, the simplistic nature and delicate addition of green onions on the clam pizza gives a nod to the onions and celery featured in the opposing broth-based soup from Rhode Island.

White Pie also has a version of pepperoni pizza that will get any kid excited. The especially large pepperoni releases flavors of paprika and fennel onto the rest of the pie. There is no mistaking this pizza as an upgrade to what many grew up on. But, if you’re looking to see how the pepperoni pizza can mature, even more, take a slice of their Porky Porkorino. It takes the spice that makes pepperoni a great addition to a pizza and gives it some added depth.

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Porky Porkorino Pie.Photo courtesy of White Pie.

This pork-cured sausage tastes similar to salami but has a more aggressive, edgy seasoning with garlic powder, black pepper, cumin and chili powder. Then, to add some acidity, the pie has polka dots of pickled chiles. In order to cut through all the spice, a sweet drizzle of honey makes it all come together. The honey may seem out of place, but the spice would be overwhelming without it and it heightens the flavor from the smoke released by the wood oven.

Eggs and bacon typically get dished out for breakfast, but White Pie takes these beloved breakfast classics and reintroduces them in a fun, new way. Their breakfast-style pizza is easy to spot with a beautiful, runny egg yolk on display at the center of the pie. When you begin to take your first (of many) pieces, the poached egg begins to break and release all over the pizza. It takes over the responsibility that is usually designated to tomato sauce and replaces the tanginess of a whole tomato with an extra layer of richness to complement the sprinkled mozzarella.

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The iconic White Pie.Photo by Haley Paez.

It features dollops of creme fraiche to make a mellow version of sour cream. Together with the runny egg yolk, they blend into a makeshift hollandaise sauce. This breakfast just gets better with the little bacon crisps studded all around the pizza. Forget the toast that usually comes on the side with breakfast, too, because the pizza crust is a better compliment. Try ripping off the thick part of the crust and dunk it straight into the egg yolk for a new take on chips and dip. Any way you slice it, this pizza puts normal breakfast to shame.

Mashed potatoes are easily a comfort food, so the pizza masters at White Pie have decided to take that homey, Thanksgiving feeling to their next pizza. The Paulie Walnut is a bit nut, but everything new can be thought of as crazy at first. However, after one bite you can see how it all comes together. The potatoes are smooth and creamy, which acts as a swipe of butter on a hot roll. Then, they add bacon – because if there’s one way to win over Americans, it’s with fatty pieces of pork.

It seems like it would be a play on baked potatoes, but instead of loading it on with more savory accents, they completely pivot and add candied walnuts. As all these flavors mingle, it represents all the family dinners enjoyed during the holidays. The caramelized bacon takes us back to the honey-baked ham sliced off the bone. The buttery mashed potatoes are always the fought-after vegetable. Then, the walnuts give the sugar and earthy spice that fall months radiate. Though it’s definitely unusual at first glance, it’s exactly what food is meant to do: create and remind us of memories.

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Everyone loves the big pizza oven.Photo by Haley Paez.

White Pie chefs congregate in front of the leader of the whole production – the wood-burning oven – as if it were their shining star because it very well might be. It is definitely the accent that brings to life the spark that each chef has for his/her craft. Each pie represents a piece of their family and their unique perspective on a dish that is all too common. There is no getting used to what they do because menu items rotate constantly, but the product from their oven never slips and has us coming back time after time.

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Haley Paez is the face behind Mile High and Hungry. It began as a food Instagram with the intent of showcasing all that the Denver food industry had to offer with the snap of a camera and the post of a picture. It has since grown into a blog, TikTok, Facebook, podcast, and other multimedia outlets for understanding and trying the food coming from Denverites and beyond. This writing seeks to be an outlet for discovering restaurant and food businesses in a new light and highlighting all the fun, crazy, delicious offerings from one of the countries newest food hubs. It's an easy way to learn about the people and their stories that have been able to bring so many joyous moments to the city of Denver. Come along and make sure you're hungry cause we have a lot of eating to do!

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