Deli Italia wins greatest Denver pizza in our 2021 class

Deli Italia is the winner of our 2021 Pizza Bracket in Denver. Lakewood Pizzeria beat 31 other Denver pizzerias for the championship title.

Five rounds, 32 pizzerias and countless cakes later, we have a winner in the 2021 Pizza Bracket in Denver. Deli Italia defeated Cart-Driver by just 2 percentage points (51-49) in the final, making it your pick for the best pizza in Denver.

In case you haven’t heard of the place (let alone tried the ‘za), this nearly 3-year-old pizzeria on the edge of a nondescript Lakewood mall serves east coast-style cakes.

Owners Chris and Lindsay Lyons bought the deli in 2018, which had been under two previous owners for more than three decades. Their goal was to turn it into a full restaurant. And Chris – formerly a home cook – tested dough recipes on family and friends as he prepared to debut his first commercial pizza.

Owner Chris Lyons tosses pizza dough at Deli Italia Pizzeria & Market on Friday April 16. (Eric Lutzens, The Denver Post)

A few years later, Chef Chris’ thin crust cake at Margherita, Sausage and Ricotta (as well as more traditional and experimental styles) has become a favorite in the neighborhood and beyond. Lindsay says they’ll see chefs from other restaurants picking up the cakes and pinching each other a little.

“When you’re this small and new, having someone you respect is just the greatest vote of confidence …” she said.

Still, it was far from the couple’s imagination to win a readers’ poll for Best Pizza Place in the Denver Area that passed not three years after running their business.

“We were just down to earth and a bit shocked to even be listed next to these (other) pizzerias,” Lindsay said in an interview last week. “We feel like the very big outsider.”

MORE: This underdog pizzeria in Lakewood could go all the way to the Denver pizza console

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