18. Cart-Driver

New to the list

What Kelly Whitaker has achieved with Basta (number 10 on this list) trickles down to the small but mighty Cart-Driver. Whitaker’s second restaurant narrows its focus to wood-fired pizza and a smattering of appetizers, such as pristine oysters and a smooth tuna mousse. The restaurant—all 640 feet of it—succeeds in every way. The shipping-container space provides an urban, utilitarian vibe. And for those who say, “It’s just a pizza,” well, that’s underplaying Whitaker’s dedication to perfection. The crust is at once chewy and snappy—never soggy—and the toppings are simple, rustic, and impeccably sourced. Cart-Driver is more than just one chef’s approach to pizza; it’s a mission—and Denver is lucky to have it. 2500 Larimer St., Suite 100, 303-292-3553, cart-driver.com

Order this: tuna mousse with pickled celery and toast

(Read 5280’s review of Cart-Driver from the May 2015 issue.)