Pizza is big business and Denver’s piece of the (Neapolitan-style) pie is getting bigger by the day. Live Basil Pizza—the new fast-casual concept from Smashburger‘s Tom Ryan—opens today on Hampden Avenue. Look for 11-inch pizzas (pictured) that are made in front of you (à la Chipotle) and cook by the time you fill your cup at the Boylan’s soda fountain. “All ingredients fall into at least one of these categories: organic, all-natural, imported, or authentic, “Ryan says. “This is the new generation of pizza.”

Next week, Boulder’s Pizzeria Locale (which was number 17 on our list of 2012 Best 25 Restaurants), opens a streamlined Denver outpost. The much-anticipated restaurant from the Frasca Food and Wine folks will fall into the fast-casual realm—perfect for the Sixth Avenue and Broadway location. Locale will distinguish itself from the competition by using premium ingredients (the same featured at the full-service Boulder location) and a state-of-the-art pizza oven that took 18 months to perfect.

All of this comes on the heels of the announcement that Las Vegas-based Project Pie will debut in Boulder this summer. And, of course, there was last week’s opening of Pizza Republica downtown next to the Convention Center. (Although focused on Neapolitan-style pies, Republica is a full service restaurant with an extensive menu.)

Meanwhile, despite the flurry of new eateries, Toppings Pizza Works, a fast-casual pizza shop in LoDo, closed its doors a couple weeks ago. And, at the end of last year, Tossa (Tom’s Ryan’s original fast-casual pizza concept) closed in Boulder. Ryan’s intention was to refine the idea—which, you can assume is now realized with Live Basil Pizza.

Live Basil Pizzeria, 6305 E. Hampden Ave., 303-756-6176

Pizzeria Locale, 550 Broadway, 720-508-8828 and 1730 Pearl St., 303-442-3003

Pizza Republica, 890 14th St., 303-623-2811 and 5375 Landmark Place, #113, Greenwood Village, 720-489-2030

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Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.