About a year ago, a slew of Denver restaurateurs took a trip to Portland, Oregon, to check out new concepts and explore the delicious fare of Pacific Northwest. While there, the group visited Pine Street Market—a food hall comprised of stalls by well-known Portland chefs—all the while fantasizing about a Denver iteration. Among those on the trip was Paul C. Reilly, of Beast & Bottle and Coperta fame, and Adam Schlegel, of the Snooze empire. Fast forward to a couple months later and Schlegel, acting on behalf of Eclectic Collective development team, was recruiting Reilly to join the new Broadway Market project.
Reilly, who loves pizza, saw the Broadway Market as an opportunity to again collaborate with his sister Aileen V. Reilly and wine director JP Taylor Jr. in order to extend the Coperta brand. “Coperta doesn’t serve pizza, and pizza is such an integral part of Roman cuisine,” Reilly says. “What if we made our new place an extension of that?” Coperta, which in Italian means “blanket,” is built around the notion of Southern Italian comfort food and warm, inviting hospitality. Roman-style pizza was a natural fit.
Most will be somewhat familiar with Pizza Romana, a thin-crust, made-to-order pie, but in Denver, the idea of pizza “al taglio,” or pizza served “by the cut,” is relatively novel. Though both styles will be served at Pizzeria Coperta, it’s the latter that will set the stall apart: The pies will be baked in large, rectangular pans, with a crispy, focaccia-esque crust, and will be be cut with scissors and priced by the pound. Similar to the legendary Pizzarium Bonci in Rome, Reilly hopes to offer pizza with more daring, chef-driven toppings, while adhering to the local, seasonal mantra he’s built his brand on. For those on the go, a pizza window will open onto Broadway. “I think people in Denver will find it fun and different,” Reilly says.
Also on the menu will be Coperta’s “suppli al telefono,” crispy risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella, and a “fritto misto” comprised of various fried seasonal vegetables. “I’d also look for some of our more traditional flavors from Coperta, like our pastas, to make their way into pizza form,” Reilly says. “We’re definitely going to do a Pizza ‘all’Amatriciana,’”—guanciale, red-wine-tomato sauce, red onion—“and maybe even a Carbonara pizza.” Pizzeria Coperta will also offer a selection of simple Italian wines on tap.
Above all, Reilly is excited to be a part of Denver’s thriving food hall landscape. There are few other spaces where people feel equally comfortable working solo on a laptop, conducting a meeting, gathering for happy hour, or enjoying a family dinner, and Broadway Market will be no exception. “I really love the sense of place and sense of community that food halls bring,” Reilly says. “I love how they can be everything to everyone.”
Although a hard date has yet to be announced, Broadway Market is slated to open before the end of the year. In the meantime, “there’s going to be some big announcements regarding well-known Denver restaurateurs,” Reilly says. “It’s going to be really exciting.”