There’s a certain aesthetic shared by mountain town pizzerias: ski- and snowboard-based decorations, exposed wood or brick, and simple but festive furnishings such as Christmas lights. If the mountain town pizzeria is located in Colorado, the state flag will definitely be printed or painted across some large swath of wall. These spots wouldn’t seem out of place if you picked them up out of town and placed them at the ski area.
As a long-time Durangoan, the first thought that entered my head as I sat down at Rosie’s Pizzeria in Pagosa Springs was, “Wow, this place feels a lot Diorio’s South Pizza (the pizza place that eventually became Father’s Daughters Pizza on College and Main).”
With good reason, it turns out — it totally was DSP from 2005, when it opened as a walk-up counter selling pizza by the slice. Rosie (hence the name) and Paul Dufour bought it in 2012, and then current owners Kirk and Audrey Bliss purchased it in October 2019. The eatery has almost certainly changed since the beginning, but those familiar with DSP will still detect its aura.
These days, Rosie’s has table service, along with starters such as stuffed garlic knots, strombolis, calzones, desserts, and a full bar with Eddyline Brewery, 4 Noses Brewing Co., and Riff Raff Brewing Co. beers on tap — as well as PBR. The pizzeria’s happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and you can get pizza by the slice during that time.
I grinned from ear to ear almost immediately after I ordered my iced tea, which emerged complete with a fun crazy straw. I am easily amused.
If it’s your first time at a pizzeria, you have to order pizza. (It’s the eighth and final rule of Pizza Club.) I prefer my pizza loaded with toppings, so I got the “Deluxe,” featuring pepperoni, Italian sausage, green bell peppers, black olives, white onions, and mushrooms. The sausage came in large, thick disks, and the bell peppers in thin but plentiful shavings. All of the ingredients tasted super fresh — especially the mushrooms.
Like its ancestor, DSP, Rosie’s pizza style was on the New York side of the spectrum. The crust was thin and pliable and passed the “Saturday Night Fever” test (something I just made up) in that the slices can not only be folded in half lengthwise, but also stacked on top of each other and folded, like Tony Manero does at the beginning of the movie. This isn’t any kind of Brooklyn tradition, I’ve been told, but it’s the easiest way to eat two slices of pizza on the go while carrying a can of paint.
Notably, the exterior crust on the pizza was way better than that of your average New York pie. It was almost perfectly rounded, golden, buttery, and yielding.
I 100% plan to return to Rosie’s Pizzeria next time I’m seeking pizza in Pagosa — especially because I didn’t have a chance to try out anything from the specialty drink menu, which is organized into six groups of cocktails featuring gin, rum, tequila, vodka, whiskey or sangria. Two cocktails from the groups feature habañero — and just writing that I’m suddenly very thirsty.
If there’s anything that makes me momentarily hesitate about returning, it’s that the location at 100 County Center Drive shares the same plaza as City Market, and the whole thing is pockmarked with chaotic constellations of potholes. But, if you imagine real hard, you can pretend you’re driving on the surface of the moon.