There’s a lot going on in Congress Park dining these days (Sweet Cooie’s and 12@Madison are prime examples), as Denver restaurateurs cater to the densely packed residential neighborhood and its hordes of hungry families. And as of last night, Blue Pan Pizza has entered the fray.

Co-owners Jeff Smokevitch and Giles Flanagin signed the lease for the 12th Avenue space, formerly home to the Mindful Bike, back in May 2016, but building permits and construction were slow-going. Finally, the wait is over… or is it? As of 6 p.m. last night, there was a 45-minute wait for one of the 42 seats in the new space, a sign of how excited neighborhood residents are that Blue Pan is now slinging its fluffy Detroit-, New York-, Italian-, and cracker-thin Chicago-style pies. 

Blue Pan Pizza
Congress Park residents flocked to Blue Pan last night, ready to choose from the 20 beers on tap and dig into some ’za.

Flanagin shared with us that he, Smokevitch, and their team are overwhelmed and overjoyed by the outpouring of community support. “The amount of people stopping by and saying hi, introducing themselves, and just communicating all this positive energy—we’re blown away. It’s off the charts.”

There are two new dishes on the outpost’s menu: fried arancini (risotto balls) served with housemade marinara for dipping and an Italian-style white pie with a whipped ricotta base.

Possibly even more exciting for Congress Park families: Not only can kids literally assemble their own pizzas—Blue Pan’s cooks stretch the dough, but little ones can spread on the sauce and top the pizza to their liking—but if you ask, the Blue Pan team will happily take any guest on an informal kitchen tour and even show off the different doughs fermenting in the basement. Such engaging hospitality (and those tasty pizzas) should go a long way in Congress Park.

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.