First look: Arch Pizza opens in Park Hill with St. Louis-style pizza

Archpizza1.jpg

Last month, comedian and television host Jimmy Kimmel squarely insulted the city of St. Louis when he royally crucified Imo's, a legendary, family-owned St. Louis-style pizza chain that Kimmel described as a "terrible, terrible pizza place," adding that the Midwestern chain, which has additional locations in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas City, also turns out "disgusting toasted raviolis."

There are thousands upon thousands of Imo's loyalists who would vehemently disagree with Kimmel's assessment of the joint's pizza (and toasted ravioli), including Marc Dak, who, along with his wife Stacy, just opened Arch Pizza, which not only serves St. Louis-style pizza but is using the same recipes and ingredients that you'll find at Imo's.

See also: Pizzeria Locale: Will Frasca's dough boys get a pizza the fast-casual action?

"My wife is from St. Louis, and she grew up eating at Imo's, and we love the pizza, so we wanted to bring it to Denver," says Dak, adding that the owners of Imo's gave them permission to mirror their concept in another city, just so long as they use their recipes and purveyors.

For the uninitiated, St. Louis-style pizza is the antithesis of Chicago-style, or New York-style pizza, or, for that matter, any pizza. The crust, which utilizes baking powder rather than yeast, is cracker-thin and unyielding -- the flop factor is entirely absent; the sauce relies more on sweetness than acidity; a blend of processed cheeses -- Swiss, provolone and white cheddar, trademarked as Provel, takes the place of mozzarella; and the pizza is cut into squares. About that cheese: it's a little smoky, a little gooey and when it's bubbling hot, it kind of reminds you of molten lava. And while Dak admits that it's not for everyone, he's betting that it'll generate more fans than foes. "We're gambling on the fact that people are really going to love the cheese blend, mostly because it just has a lot more flavor than mozzarella," he says.

And the Park Hill store is just the beginning of what the Daks and their third business partner, Matt Leiss, hope will evolve into a mini empire. They've signed a lease on two additional spaces, one in Lone Tree at 8854 Maximus Drive, and a second in south Denver, across the street from Kennedy Golf Course, and they're scouting for a fourth location.

The menus, which proffer pizza titles that pay tribute to St. Louis, including the "Arch," "Mighty Mississippi," the "Ozark" and one called the "Tangy Cardinal," a pizza crowned with bacon, chicken and pineapple and paved with a sweet, tangy and spicy sauce, share space with sandwiches, salads, garlic bread and several starters, most of them fried. The majority of the ingredients are shipped to the store from St. Louis, although the meatballs are made locally by Palidori Sausage.

A beer-and-wine license is in the works (the hearing is slated for November 1), and each subsequent store will pour beer and wine and offer the same menu. "I don't necessarily think that this pizza is better than every other pizza," admits Dak, "but we're definitely doing a different kind of pizza than just about anyone else in Denver, plus we have a fun, family-friendly atmosphere, an enthusiastic staff and a great neighborhood feel," he concludes.

Arch Pizza is open daily for lunch and dinner, and the store also offers delivery within a three-mile radius. Here's a sneak peek at the space and the pizzas.


Location Info

Venue

Map

Arch Pizza

6110 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
31 comments
NickSTL
NickSTL

Oh I am saved! I'll be moving to Brighton this coming fall and there is conveniently a location in Thornton now to. To be honest losing Imo's pizza when I leave Missouri has been one of the despairing thoughts I've had since graduation started approaching. 

And who would have thought I'd find a joint with a real partnership with Imo's right there in Denver! With multiple locations to boot! 

I think I've decided what my first meal will be upon moving out!

denvolans
denvolans

City Pizza has been around for decades with St Louis style, but is far from central Denver. (80th & Kipling)  Maybe we will eventually get an Arches down here in Centennial? We bring back bricks of Provel whenever we return from St. Louis to put on home baked pizza and cheesy bread. Great stuff. will need to check this place out.

bluemuse2
bluemuse2

For those fellow Missourians:  Yep, St. Louis Style pizza may be an acquired taste but Arch is partnering with Imo's in Missouri for their ingredients, recipes, etc, so it's 'legit'  Getting their sausage from Polidori locally though, so that's good.  If you are from St. Louie, you'll probably like Arch pizza.  This guy from Springfield, MO did. 

craiger720
craiger720

The photo of the brownies and fried (something?) looks so damn tasty.  Yummmm...got a feeling this place could become a Denver guilty pleasure.

Nick McCollum
Nick McCollum

I contracted at Spirit of St Louis airport for about 9 months and Imos was a staple Jimmy Kimmel must have just had a bad experience. If you're looking for Beau Jos it's not it.

Kathy Reid
Kathy Reid

St. Louis has it's own pizza style? I want a slice, please.

David Spencer
David Spencer

THANK YOU WESTWORD FOR BREAKING THIS STORY!!!

David Spencer
David Spencer

OMG FINALLY!!! I HATE HAVING TO GO HOME TO STL TO TASTE TO PROVEL AND SWEET THIN CRUST GOODNESS!!!!

monopod
monopod

I always claimed to appreciate all styles of pizza... until I tried St. Louis style.  It's seriously awful, even to an obsessive pizza aficionado - weird fake cheese, tasteless crackery crust.  Unless you grew up in St. Louis and were imprinted on it at a young age, I'd personally stay away from it.

Mike Pepe Caustik
Mike Pepe Caustik

Someone asked me if I knew about "World Famous Arch Pizza from St. Louis," to which I replied, "You mean Imo's? I've never heard of Arch..." But now that I know it's Imo's with a different name, I guess it is truly STL style! :-p

Lynn Teasley
Lynn Teasley

I can't wait! I hope it tastes like home!

mathews10
mathews10

While my folks and most of my family are from St Louis and live there now I was fortunate enough to grow up in CT smack dab between New haven, CT and Brooklyn, NY. That said, it pains me to eat pizza whenever I return home.  There are a few good places, but none of them are like Imo's. Most St. Louis joints use some sort of provel (or fake cheese really) and it is disgusting.  I mean Jimmy Kimmel could not have been more right on.  Toasted ravioli's are a whole different conversation. I am sure Marc and his wife Stacy are wonderful people (like most in the midwest), however Denver has become a foodie town, with tons of pretty darn good pizza, and I just do not see anything that resembles Imo's impressing. Sorry.


pixelninja
pixelninja

I found City Pizza to be a poor excuse for St. Louis style. We've tried it twice and we won't be going back. This, on the other hand, sounds like the real deal. I look forward to giving them a try.

Sue Clifford Lynch
Sue Clifford Lynch

[:] Years ago, we overnighted in St. Louis, and ended up at a pizza place for dinner. We've joked about the "Velveeta Pizza" ever since.

Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

Theirs an Arch Pizza on E Colfax as well.

Amelia DeAngio
Amelia DeAngio

St. Louis style pizza is disgusting. It's like cheese whiz on a matzah cracker.

Dan Robinson
Dan Robinson

city pizza and pasta has been around for awhile now. If you want to taste the atrocity that is St. Louis pizza.

JPhine
JPhine

Like most of the culinary choices made in IL and the Midwest, cutting pizza in squares is SO WRONG. I grew up there and thin crust, limp pizza and "provel" are definitely things I will never miss.

Catherine Flannery
Catherine Flannery

Westword's description of the pizza made me want to try it about as much as I want to try a piece of cardboard...

Dev Adams
Dev Adams

Just FYI City Pizza in Arvada has been serving St Louis style pizza for years. I'm from a St Louis family, so I adore provel and all of the weirdness that is St Louis style pizza and can't wait to check the new joint out!

Chuckroast
Chuckroast

Just in time for the world series!!  Hopefully they serve ice cold Budweiser and Busch beer on tap in a frosted mug.  The pizza is definitely an acquired taste, but I don't know of anyone who grew up in STL that doesnt' like it.  They should hand out flyers in front of Stoney's tonight, it'll be packed with Cardinal fans for the game.  In the past we had to have Imos delivered over night, via Fed Ex, or go out to Arvada to City Pizza to get our provel fix.  I can't wait to try it, I just hope it's legit!

Manfrenjensen
Manfrenjensen

I admittedly have never tried "St Louis style" pizza, but it sounds dreadful.

YayWhiskey
YayWhiskey

Good luck to them - but as far as "St Louis style pizza" - it's ketchup on a saltine topped with elmer's glue.

I'd much rather have a slinger.

destruction5000
destruction5000

@YayWhiskey ha..i do like your review even thought I disagree.  What St Louis pizza was it that you tried?  Because outside of your description of it being 'thin' it doesn't really relate...and I haven't eaten at the place they are talking about



Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...