By Liesl Greathouse
MONTROSE- (May 1) -Montrose seems to be becoming the pizza capitol of the Uncompaghre Valley. With a variety of pizza styles from fast food to handmade, anyone can find a pizza to fit their taste buds. Here are just four of the many options for people, focusing on the handmade and oven-fired styles of pizza.
DeAngelo’s Pizza has been owned and operated by James Wilkinson and his partner Lisa Moore since 2004. James originally worked as the manager of the restaurant under the previous owner, but decided to buy it when the owner put it up for sale. DeAngelo’s offers pizzas, calzones, salads, sandwiches and other Italian fare, whether people want to dine-in or carry out.
At DeAngelo’s, they make their own dough, bread, sauce and other ingredients. “We don’t grow the tomatoes, but we still make everything from scratch,” James said. “It tastes better, costs less, and people like it better if you make things by hand.”
The signature pizza at DeAngelo’s is the DeAngelo’s Special, made with Canadian Bacon, pepperoni, Italian Sausage, beef, mushroom, black olive, onion, green pepper and extra cheese. “It has everything but the kitchen sink,” James explained. For people who like a lot of pizza toppings, any of the specialty pizzas are a good pick.
James’ favorite part of his business is being able to create something. “The most exciting part for me is the satisfaction of taking flour, water and salt, turning them into dough, then turning that dough into a pizza and putting that pizza in the oven,” he explained. “I get more satisfaction from that over just handing a person something from a can or box.”
Even though James did not originally start DeAngelo’s, he still wants to make it the best restaurant it can be. He said, “I want it to be identified with Montrose as a local business that has been here a long time, and will continue to be here a long time.”
DeAngelo’s Pizza is located at 221 Colorado Ave. Suite A and is open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
For something with an Italian flare at a reasonable price, Creekside Restaurant (at Cobble Creek) serves some of the best wood-fired pizzas, pasta, steaks, sandwiches, burgers, and seafood. Drake Pulliam is the executive chef, in charge of making sure everything works. “It is just a little eclectic restaurant at a golf course with a wide variety of foods,” he explained.
Drake owned Drake’s Restaurant in Ridgway for 13 years before closing it. Eventually he decided he was ready to go back to cooking, and having grown up in Montrose, getting a job close to home seemed the perfect fit.
The pizzas at Creekside are made with ingredients imported from Italy, plus as much local produce as is available. “There is nothing better than farm-to-plate,” Drake explained. “I’m not looking for the ultimate best ingredients, but I like to get things from where they were produced.”
Creekside’s most popular pizzas are The Works (made with Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, mozzarella, onions, bell peppers, kalamata olives and tomato sauce) and the Margherita (made with mozzarella, tomatoes, pesto and basil). “People like meat and a little bit of everything,” Drake said about The Works. “And people like the Margherita for the beauty of its flavor, especially its fresh tomatoes. Sometimes just a few ingredients make something better rather than a lot.”
For people avoiding gluten, gluten free crusts and pastas are available and sauces can be made gluten-free if requested.
Drake does not have a specific favorite part in his work. “I just love being in the restaurant business,” he said. “It has its ups and downs, but I like the business as a whole. I love cooking, the smell of gas in the kitchen, the sizzle of a pan, and happy customers.”
Creekside Restaurant is located at 697 Cobble Dr. and is open Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
When looking for some good, homemade Italian fare, the Fire House offers it all in a family-friendly environment.
Owner May Epling has worked in the restaurant industry for a long time. After finally retiring, nine months later she was bored out of her mind. Knowing that she needed to stay busy and be around people, the idea for the Fire House was born.
The Fire House offers traditional southern Italian food, with some American options as well. All the bread is homemade, and everything is made in house. The pizzas are made in the restaurant’s best asset, its wood fired oven.
The most popular pizza is The Valve, which is made with goat cheese, tomato, artichoke hearts and an olive oil base. Another popular pizza is The Hawaiian, made with pineapple and a variety of meats, including sausage, and Canadian bacon.
Gluten-free noodles and pizza crusts are available. The soups and the basic red and white pizza sauces can be made gluten free if requested.
May’s favorite part of her work is the people. “I love people,” she said. “My employees are like family, and we all work well together. They make me like to come to work every day.”
May said that the main goals for the Fire House are, “To make it big, to make it fun and to just do well.”
The Fire House is located at 1136 E. Main St. and is open Tuesday-Saturday 7 p.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-10 a.m. for brunch and 7 p.m.-10 p.m. for dinner.
Soon, a new addition to Montrose will be the Colorado Boy Pizzeria, owned by Tom & Sandy Hennessy.
Tom has 40 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He and his wife have opened several restaurants over the years, including the Colorado Boy Pub and Brewery in Ridgway.
The Pizzeria in Montrose will offer Neapolitan-style thin crust, 12 inch pizzas, baked in an open flame oven that bakes at 800° F. “People will come up to the counter, pay, get a tab, get their drinks, and within seven minutes will have their food,” Tom explained. “Everything will be made from scratch and people will be able to sit at the counter and watch the food being made.”
All the food items, including the pizzas, salads and pastas, will be under $10. “It will all be inexpensive, very fast and very good,” Tom said. “Almost like fast food for adults.”
As many ingredients as possible will be bought locally, while the flour will come from Italy and the tomatoes from Naples.
Based on the Colorado Boy in Ridgway, their most popular pizza may be the Rustica, made with garlic, olive oil, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, roasted pepper, capicollo ham, and Gorgonzola cheese.
There will be a gluten-free pizza crust option, as well as gluten free beer available.
Tom’s goal for Colorado Boy Pizzeria is to just be the humble downtown pizzeria. “I want it to be around for 20 years, to become a town institution,” he said. “I know that we will have to do a good job so we can earn people’s trust and support.”
Colorado Boy Pizzeria’s grand opening will be Memorial Day and will be located at 320 E. Main Street.
If you ever have a craving for a fresh slice of handmade pizza, Montrose has some of the best selection of restaurants around. Just don’t go overboard with the Parmesan cheese.