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A classic Colorado pizza joint holds on against stiff competition

The East Colfax Avenue mainstay shares a wall, and doorway, with the also-excellent PS Lounge

Lucy Wenzel holds a large sausage pizza from thin-crust heaven Enzo's End Pizzeria. (John Wenzel)
Lucy Wenzel holds a large sausage pizza from thin-crust heaven Enzo’s End Pizzeria. (John Wenzel)
John Wenzel of The Denver Post

Editor’s note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week, we offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more. (We’ll also let you in on some hidden gems).

Travel guides, transplants (and even this publication) have plenty of thoughts about Colorado’s best pizza places. I’m a transplant, too, and have fallen in love over the years with local favorites ranging from Beau Jo’s honeyed crust to Cart-Driver’s wood-fired pie.

Related: 11 of the best pizza joints in and around Denver

But having arrived here 23 years ago from Dayton, Ohio — a city that’s no slouch when it comes to pizza — I’ve become dependent on a Denver shop that feels positively old-school compared to the new class of local pie-slingers.

If your holidays include pizza -- and why wouldn't they? -- East Colfax Avenue's Enzo's End is ready to bring the joy. (John Wenzel)
If your holidays include pizza — and why wouldn’t they? — East Colfax Avenue’s Enzo’s End is ready to bring the joy. (John Wenzel)

Since 1996, Enzo’s End Pizzeria has been a comforting anchor on the semi-gentrified stretch of East Colfax Avenue between Colorado Boulevard and York Street, where pedestrian traffic is fairly constant. Its red, thatched shingles and vinyl-booth dining room share space (and an interior door) with the also excellent, also old-school PS Lounge.

Tipplers at that bar can order pizzas from Enzo’s while they hang at PS — itself a cash-only classic where women get free roses upon entering, and everyone gets a free shot of the (admittedly weak) Alabama Slammer.

I don’t drink alcohol anymore, but I do have many fond and blurry memories of digging into a New York-style, thin-crust pie from Enzo’s during nights out. Fortunately, Enzo’s stands alone. Its clean-finishing, toothsome crust and 30 high-quality toppings (the usuals, but also garlic chicken and sautéed spinach) are brought together with mozzarella that is lactose-free.

As my food-writer wife informed me, there are various reasons why cheeses tend to lose their lactose (in the production process, as they age, etc.). But Enzo’s version has always had an ideal mix of gooey and giving and savory, concealing a tart and perfectly applied sauce with garden-fresh tomato flavor.

A 12-inch small ‘za costs $18 before toppings, so it’s definitely not cheap. But do you always want the cheapest pizza available? With a refund guarantee and a tasty side salad, there’s little risk in eating Enzo’s. The reward, however, is immediate and lasting.

Enzo’s End Pizzeria. New York-style thin-crust pies. For dine-in, takeout and delivery; closed Mondays and Tuesdays. 3424 E. Colfax Ave. or 303-355-4700

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