Openings

Mac 'n' Cheese Pizza Has Arrived in Denver. What Else Is Ian's Slinging in Ballpark?

By Ruth Tobias  |  May 30, 2014
Credit: Ruth Tobias

Back in January, we gave homesick ex-Cheeseheads something to live for when we broke the news that a branch of beloved Wisconsin institution Ian’s Pizza would be coming to Denver this spring. Now their dreamed-about day has come: on May 16, managing partner Elliot Flax and his crew began slinging their first slices in the shadow of Coors Field. Here’s the lowdown on the new pie parlor.

The Vibe. Call it come-as-you-are casual (the staff doesn't even have uniforms). Lots of natural light, brushed metal and blond wood fill the mod-industrial space, flanked by a long display counter, a tiny beer bar and two patios furnished with lawn chairs, where diners can perch with TV trays to watch the game-day crowds go by.

The Pies. While Flax is still rolling out the complete menu, the fundamentals are all in place, starting with a crust that’s thick and chewy, but not heavy, at the edges and char-speckled on its thinner bottom. Then there are the wacky toppings. Ian’s claim to fame is its mac 'n' cheese pizza (pictured top), a doozy that piles elbow macaroni and Wisconsin cheddar, naturally, atop a crème fraîche base. Chicken penne Alfredo comes in a close second. But there are also creations inspired by the Deep South and Mexico, including the tortilla-topped quesadilla pie with spicy chicken or Polidori chorizo, mozzarella and pico de gallo (bottom) and the beef brisket with tater tots (pending the arrival of a smoker). All are available whole or by the slice, with gluten-free and vegetarian options to boot; the kitchen will be adding more vegan alternatives as demand dictates. 

The Rest of the Menu. Meanwhile, the extensive salad bar is no afterthought, offering a slew of ingredients from corn-and-bean relish and cranberries to candied pecans and toasted tortilla chips, as well as housemade dressings like green-chile ranch. If you need more crust to go with your crust, Ian’s sells “side sticks” accompanied by a variety of dipping sauces. And for dessert, there’s “puppy chow”: to-go bags of Rice Chex mixed with chocolate, peanut butter and powdered sugar. To wash it all down, you’ve got a choice of three local craft beers, supplemented by Coors Light, and the usual fountain sodas, bottled juices and teas. Wine is coming soon.

Perhaps best of all, Ian’s aims to capture a hefty slice of the late-night market with its hours of operation: it’s open from 11 AM until 2:30 AM Sunday through Thursday and until 3 AM on Friday and Saturday. So unless you're craving pizza for breakfast, they've pretty much got you covered.

2210 Blake St.; 303-296-9000