In Quentin Tarantino’s Magnum Opus – the 2009 film Inglorious Basterds – there is a scene in which Brad Pitt’s character Lieutenant Aldo Raine is tasked with dressing up as an Italian named Gorlami in order to infiltrate a Nazi film premiere. It’s a pretty iconic scene, with Pitt having to repeat the name with increasing comical discomfort as Christopher Waltz’s boneless Colonel Hans Landa tests his Texan charisma and utter lack of conversational skills. Hardly incognito.
Gorlami is fun to say. And for those who have seen the movie, it’s nearly impossible without falling into Pitt’s absurd cadence. The name goes well with Charlie Troup’s new pizzeria in Avanti Denver. Troup, who not long ago opened Boychik, a contemporary Middle Eastern restaurant in Avanti Boulder with partners Chase and Melissa Devitt, believes pizza is fun.
“Pizza is something I want to think about with people. You eat pizza with friends. You don’t eat pizza on a first date, you don’t eat it at a wedding, ”he said. “Pizza is a mood.”
Gorlami Pizza replaces the space Brava !, previously had, and serves crispy cakes that refer to Naples without being tied to tradition. There are certainly thematic parallels between the business and its namesake. Troup is an American who makes pizza without ever having been to Italy. Although Gorlami Pizza differs in that it is a feast, unlike Raine who was an uncomfortable and excited cheater. Gorlami makes no attempt to imitate with something that resembles rigor and remembers that pizza is about having a good time.
Troup was born and raised in Minneapolis. He has expanded his gourmet background since moving to Colorado. Starting with a leadership position at Vail’s Mountain Standard, Troup was followed by a long stint at OAK on the fourteenth. Since then he has worked under Gregory Gourdet at Departure and most recently with Alon Shaya at Safta. On a trip to Israel hosted by Shaya, Troup drew much of the inspiration that helped fuel Boychik’s hummus- and shawarma-heavy menu. Both of Troup’s stalls appear to be at home in their respective cities, which the restaurateur says is very much by design. “Gorlami is about fun. Boychik is about family, ”he said.
Head Chef David Cochrane is from New Hampshire and met Troup while they were both working at OAK. “Every time I smell pizza, I go back to my childhood,” said the chef, noting that he now enjoys watching his own children make pizza at home as if they were art projects. Cochrane’s father was in the carnival business, so the nostalgia is alive. The chef notes that many of his formative hours were spent on the circus’ roaming pizza truck.
After nearly four years at OAK, Cochrane moved to Charleston to open Root – a local and seasonally inspired New American joint, much like his previous employer. He sold his stake and moved back to Colorado just before the pandemic. “It was almost a relief to be able to get into a concept that had already been set up,” he said. “Just as I was about to start looking for a job, Charlie called me,” he grinned.
The savory options are divided into pizza and plate. The Baby romaine lettuce ($ 10) Takes full heads of Baby Romaine and sprinkles them with honey mustard, parmesan, basil and black pepper. Most of the menu is designed as finger food, with the grippy salad being no exception. The Ricotta whipped with olive oil ($ 12) There are four types, with baby broccoli, chilli and lemon making for a wonderful crunch.
The pizzas – 13-inch flat cakes cooked at 650 ° C and about 200 degrees below the Neopolitan standard – aim for a golden brown crunch. The slightly longer cooking time of three to four minutes gives the slices, in contrast to the usual strips of wonderful soot, just a touch of bounce. The cakes all follow the principle that less is more and are often based on just a few key ingredients. Standards like Margherita ($ 12) and Hot Pepper ($ 13) will please purists. The Pineapple Express ($ 14) It’s not for austerity, however – it combines sausage, mozzarella, basil, Calabrian chilli, and homemade pineapple jam for one of the most suitable cakes on the board, a bit of Lieutenant Raine shining through the veneer.
Gorlami does a good job of delivering real cakes with no pretext, with the team clearly benefiting from the years together. “You should reflect the people you enjoy being with in your menu and food,” grinned Troup. With the world feeling like a lace, the more cheer that can be brought back into the food, the better.
Gorlami is located in Avanti Denver at 3200 North Pecos St, Denver. It is open from Sunday to Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from Thursday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
All photographs by Adrienne Thomas.