Two-Fisted Mario’s Pizza

1626 Market St
Denver, CO 80202
303-623-3523
Hours: 11am-2am Mon-Thu, 11am-3am Fri, 12pm-3am Sat, 12pm-2am Sun

Styles of Pizza: traditional (some call it East Coast-style) thin-crust, Sicillian
Service: counter service, carry-out

[rating:4]

Standout Tibits: 1) LOUD staff-picked music at night, which can range from punk, to hardcore, to hip-hop. 2) Instead of calling out your name when your order is up, or giving you a number to place on your table, they give you a large children’s toy so they know where to bring your food. Last night we wound up with a Sesame Street kiddie ATM. 3) There are 3 old-school tabletop video games: Centipede, Ms. PacMan, and Asteroids. 4) Mario’s is connected, via a heavy black curtain, to Mario’s Double Daughter Salatto, a very cool, non-smoking bar/lounge that looks like it was decorated by Edward Gorey or Tim Burton. You can order pizza any time while on the other side of the curtain.

Review: Conveniently located in downtown Denver, Mario’s is only a few steps from 16th street mall on Market Street. This joint is good for a quick lunch and great for the late-night bar-hoppers as it is open till 3am on the weekends and till 2am during the week. The menu is straight and to the point: slices or whole pizzas with toppings that don’t stray from standard fare, calzones, salad, beer, and sodas.

We went last night at about 11pm after a few cocktails elsewhere and I can honestly say that I have had much better pizza here before. The crust was pretty good, with that just right combination of crispy on the outside and somewhat chewy within. The toppings seemed fresh and tasty but lacking in good coverage. We got the Shrooms and Spin pie which features mushrooms, spinach, and “fresh Transylvanian garlic”. There was plenty of spinach, but I couldn’t count more than 5 mushroom bits on the whole pie and Robin was halfway into her second slice before she exclaimed “oh, there’s the garlic.” The sauce wasn’t completely flavorless, but I couldn’t detect many spices either, and this wasn’t one of those sauces where I am happy to let the tomatoes do all the work. The only condiments I could find to enhance the flavor were the little packets of parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper. OH!, my left ear for a dash of salt!

The decor is bright and colorful, but tends to feel like a college freshman’s dorm room. This is due in part to the aforementioned music, multi-colored lights, upcoming concert posters, and various stickers peppered about the place. The staff is young, tattooed, and hip and seem to be having a good time when not overly busy, which it can get during the later hours.

Overall, I can just say that Mario’s pizza was just OK this time around. We did get a good couple games of Centipede in, and another patron gave me his date’s full beer when she decided it was time to start sobering up. I am pretty sure he hadn’t slipped the roofie in yet.

Personally, I would rather chill to the DJ music next door and order the pizza from there. Not that I think it would have mattered this night, but we usually do order pizza when hanging out at Double Daughter and have really enjoyed it in the past. Just an off night I guess.

Gavin

Update 01/13/2006:
I hung out at Double Daughter last night with friends and ordered a couple pies. These pizzas were much better than my last visit to Two-Fisted Mario’s. The sauce was delicious and I had no issues with the coverage of toppings. Be aware that the jalapños they put on the pies here have quite a bit of heat. Oh yeah, the happy hour drinks till 8pm are a big plus as well. – G

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