Field Trip to 1000 Degrees Pizza, Denver

review of 1000 degrees pizza pizzaria denver federal heights coloradoIt’s one of the most popular foods in the world and while the pizza we’re used to here in the United States isn’t quite what you’d get from a trattoria in Italy, we sure like our dough + sauce + cheese + toppings! In fact, there are 350 slices of pizza consumed each second in the USA, and we eat 252 million pounds of pepperoni annually on pizzas on a total of 3 billion pizzas, worth $32 billion each year. That’s a lotta slices.

The latest trend in pizza is speed, and it’s a great one. I first encountered the faster pizzeria in Santa Monica, California years ago with my son, and we were astonished and highly impressed by a place where we created individual pizzas and they were cooked and served to us by the time we sat down at our table. Way better experience than the 30-45 minutes of a more traditional pizzeria.

Joining this world of fast pizza is a new chain called 1000 Degrees Pizza, which is clearly focused on a hot, hot oven and fast baking times! The first to open in Colorado is on Federal Blvd, NW of Denver in the ‘burbs, and on their invitation, my pal Steve and I decided to check it out for dinner last night. Opened for just a few weeks, we found it was quite tasty, but not without its hiccups.

1000 Degrees Pizza Federal Heights is run by a husband and wife couple and they’ve been a part of the community for decades: Jeff’s actually a long-time youth sports coach, and fell into the business out of a love for pizza and for serving pizza to his teams. And they’ve created a solid addition to the neighborhood food options, as you can see:

1000 degrees pizza denver making pizza

Jeff’s putting a pizza into the oven. And the oven is darn interesting: it’s an import directly from Italy and while the opening is at about 780F, the back is 1000F and the hottest spot at the top of the oven can get up to 1600F. That’s a lotta heat! In fact, it’s so much heat that they use a special dough designed for a high-heat baking process and a special mozzarella cheese that won’t burn at the extreme temps too.

They also make their own dough, and when you order, an employee transforms a dough ball into a flat pizza dough, ready for toppings:

hand made pizza dough, 1000 degrees

And there are plenty of toppings. On their recommendation, Steve order a “Meatza” and I ordered a “Hawaiian Fire”. Here’s Steve’s pizza, which featured pepperoni, bacon, Italian sausage and crumbled meatballs. Definitely a lotta meat!

the meatza pizza from 1000 degrees

The Hawaiian Fire starts with a Sriracha marinara, then adds mozzarella, Canadian bacon, banana peppers and pineapple, as you can see on my own pizza:

hawaiian fire pizza from 1000 degrees

They were both perfectly cooked – which only takes two minutes, on average, in the oven – though I have to admit that Steve’s Meatza was tastier than my surprising non-spicy Hawaiian. Another look at the above photo will also real something else about the pizza: it’s a thick, bready dough. I like it, but it’s teetering in the zone between Chicago-style thick crust and the more traditional thin crust. Worth knowing if you prefer a paper-thin crust on your pizza.

In addition to the pizza, which took 11 minutes from order to being on our table due to a big to-go order that had snuck ahead of us, we also ordered some chicken wings. Half were “Smokey Bourbon BBQ” and half were classic Buffalo, as you can see:

buffalo chicken wings from 1000 degrees pizza

They looked delicious, but when we went to try them, they were cold inside. Fully cooked (they’re pre-cooked in the morning while the oven is heating up) but not hot. Jeff was quick to replace them with another batch which were piping hot, much better, but at a restaurant that’s focused on its super-hot oven, it was a surprise to have food that wasn’t hot at all.

1000 Degrees Pizza is a franchise, but each franchisee clearly has leeway to add local foods and beverages. The Denver restaurant features Boulder-based Glacier ice cream and a good selection of local beers including Denver faves Blue Moon and Fat Tire:

alcohol choices, 1000 degrees pizza

The restaurant itself is a nicely designed “fast casual” and when we walked in they had AMC TV on the big TV in the corner, and it sure looked like A Christmas Carol being shown. “Please, sir, may I have another?”

1000 degrees pizza denver interior

In terms of price Steve’s pizza was $8.95 at 10-inches, mine was a 14-inch at $16.95 and the wings were $10.99 for a dozen. Drinks run about $2.50, so quite in line with other pizza joints. And while they don’t have a vegan cheese option, they do have a gluten-free crust available, which is great if that’s important to you.

All in all, a good meal (with leftovers!) that we both enjoyed, and a great environment that was welcoming and warm. I’m sure they’ll work out the kinks with the temp of the chicken wings!

Disclosure: 1000 Degrees Pizza comp’d us for the entire meal in return for this coverage. Pretty sweet deal!

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