Marco’s still turns out good Neapolitan pizza & other items from a small menu
Maybe I should not bother writing about an experience three years ago. Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizzeria was a pioneer of restaurant gentrification in the Five Points/Ballpark neighborhood and also a pioneering Neapolitan-style pizzeria in Denver. At the time, it also pioneered unnecessarily unpleasant service. Consequently, my husband and I stayed away for a long, long time — even though we often drive down Larimer Street en route to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Early on, Marco’s was garnering such raves for its Neapolitan-style pizzas that we had to try it. On a weekday evening back in August 2009, we wandered in before the theater. The dining area to the right was totally empty. A very few people were at the bar for a drink, a bite and the ballgame. We wanted to sit in a booth or at a table, but the hostess insisted that there were many reservations for that evening and she couldn’t seat us anywhere in the dining roo, even after we told her that we had theater tickets for a 7:30 show. Still, she insisted that the only place she could seat us was in the bar area, where she showed us to a table on a raised platform with side-by-side banquette seating only — presumably so that we too could watch sports TV.
We ordered a pizza to share and asked whether all the arugula could be placed on one half with the other half a greens-free zone. She initially argued with us because the menu stated “no substitutions.” We pointed out that we didn’t want to substitute, just to re-arrange the arugula. She said she’d “see” whether that could be done. We were served the pizza we wanted (see above), ate quickly and left — with the dining area still empty and the customer-be-damned attitude something I hadn’t experienced since I’d left New York.
But we aren’t ones to hold a grudge forever, so we gave Marco’s another try en route to “The Book of Mormon” (yes, we got tickets!!!!), we gave Marco’s another try. Again it was early and the place was far from full. We were offered a choice of seating, including out on the patio. We opted for the dining room– and this time we were permitted to sit there. We ordeedr pretty much the same items we’d had before — pizza to share and salad. Not wishing to spoil an evening we were really excited about, we didn’t push our luck with any special requests, so there was no possibiikty of an argument from the waitress this time. Marco’s, it seems, has matured and now has service on a par with its pizza.
Price check: Pizza (12-inch “Napolitana” or New York Pies), $10-$18; Assemble Your Own, also offered for 9- or 12inch pies; house specials (apps and also lasagna), $10-$19; salads, $7-$11; sandwiches, $10; dessert, $6-$10.