And the winner of the best pizza in Denver is …

Deli Italia beats Cart-Driver in the finals of our 2021 bracket

Deli Italia is the winner of our 2021 Denver pizza bracket. The Lakewood pizzeria beat out 31 other pizza shops around Denver for the championship title.

Five rounds, 32 pizzerias and countless pies later, we have a winner in the 2021 Denver pizza bracket. Deli Italia beat Cart-Driver by just 2 percentage points (51-49) in the finals, making it your choice for best around denver.

In case you still haven’t heard of the place (let alone tried the ‘za), this nearly 3-year-old pizzeria serves up “East Coast-style” pie at the edge of an unassuming Lakewood shopping center.

Owners Chris and Lindsay Lyons in 2018 bought the deli, which had been around under two previous owners for more than three decades. Their goal was to turn it into a full restaurant. And Chris — previously a home cook — tested dough recipes on family and friends as he prepared to debut his first commercial pizza.

Owner Chris Lyons tosses pizza dough at Deli Italia Pizzeria & Market on Friday, April 16. (Eric Lutzens, The Denver Post)

Fast-forward a few years, and chef Chris’ thin-crust pie in margherita, sausage and ricotta (as well as  more traditional and experimental styles) has become a favorite in the neighborhood and beyond. Lindsay says they’ll see chefs from other restaurants come in for pies, and pinch themselves a little.

“When you’re so small and new, to have anyone come in that you respect … is just the biggest vote of confidence,” she said.

Still, winning a readers’ choice vote for best Denver-area pizzeria not three years into running their business was quite far from the couple’s imagination.

“We were just floored and a little bit shell-shocked to even be listed alongside these (other) pizzerias,” Lindsay said in an interview last week. “We feel like the very big underdog.”

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