As both Denver and Boulder become astronomically expensive, small farm towns north and east of the Metro area are blossoming with new neighborhoods, young families, redeveloped downtowns and — most importantly — great restaurant options. While the L’s (meaning Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, etc.) are nothing new to me as a food writer, Frederick, CO, had never caught my radar until a recent media event at Peel Handcrafted Pizza. And I must admit, Peel is a great gem on the great plains north of Denver.
The family-owned pizzeria opened in 2015 with a clean, unfussy menu of gourmet pizza and accompaniments. Peel especially shines at the beginning a meal, with perhaps the best charcuterie plate I’ve consumed in 2017, which was incredibly tasty and all sourced from farms and producers located handily nearby, as the area is still heavily agricultural. The salads are also fresh both in produce and flavor trends, with crispy greens and homemade dressings. The beverages, too, are top-notch with great wine and beer selections alongside a killer homemade lemonade. (I adore when mixologists expand their craft to non-booze options!)
The restaurant is impressively staffed and impressively stylish, with its big, white-tiled pizza oven on full display to diners. On my visit, I enjoyed the Fungo Pizza, topped with four different delicious mushrooms on a nicely Neapolitan-style thin crust, as well as a fresh pasta topped with homemade sauce and meatballs. Both were solid, if improvable in minor ways, but the dessert selection wows again at the end of the meal. Crème brûlées are a house speciality, with seasonal flavors rotating on and off the menu. I loved fall’s chai-spiced brûlée as well as a Mason jar-housed pie, and could see many locals bellying up to the cute, wood bar for a few drinks and a dessert on nights a full meal out isn’t in the cards.
All and all, Peel is setting a new bar for high-quality cuisines in small-town Colorado, and the City of Frederick is a better, tastier place for having them.
Peel Handcrafted Pizza:
214 Fifth St, Frederick
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays, noon-9 p.m. Saturdays and noon- 8 p.m. Sundays