Beau Jo’s perfects the art of the crust

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Susan France

Pizza is a celebration food if ever there was one; it’s warm and gooey, just like your festive feelings; it’s handheld, it’s customizable and it’s easily shared with many people.

That’s a party food, folks.

But pizza can also be a touchy subject when only two people want to order a pie, and each have different tastes: Should the crust be thick or thin — or gluten free? Does pineapple belong on pizza? White, pesto or classic tomato sauce? What kind of cheese?

Beau Jo’s is the kind of place that makes it possible for folks to find a pretty excellent compromise between wants, even two really exhausted hikers who accidentally logged an extra mile in their planned 8-mile hike and aren’t exactly getting along at the moment. This was my situation on Sunday.

My hiking partner and I knew we wanted to celebrate surviving that surprise extra mile with some pizza from Beau Jo’s, birthplace of Colorado-style pizza.

Beau Jo’s shtick is their crust, this fresh-made dough, sweetened with locally sourced honey. There are two ways to enjoy Beau Jo’s crust: the prairie pie, and the infamous mountain pie.

The prairie crust is traditional in its depth, while the mountain crust is a force to be reckoned with. After the cooks roll and toss the dough, they braid the edge to create what they call “the containment system.”

If you’d argue that the crust of a slice of pizza is perhaps your favorite part of the pie — and who doesn’t love to dunk the crust in some garlic butter sauce or marinara? — the mountain pie is your ticket to Crustlandia. Drizzle some of the honey at the table on your crust and you’ve basically got dessert baked right into your pizza.

Still, there’s no wrong choice in crust at Beau Jo’s, because they’re both made from the same delicious handmade dough. You can still drizzle a bit of honey on the end of your prairie crust and no one is going to judge you. If they do, they’re unhappy in life and you should give them a hug and invite them on a hike.

After a surprise 9-mile hike, my hiking buddy and I wanted everything on the menu, and our intent was to get a mountain pie, because carbohydrates are heaven. But after some hemming and hawing, we decided to munch on some garlic bread and 86 a few carbs in the pie by choosing a prairie crust. We’d had enough mountain for one day.

But wait — we each wanted a different pie, and the pies we wanted had different sauces.

No worries, our server told us, we’ve got you covered. So we ordered a half New Era — basil-pesto sauce, roasted garlic, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli florets, red onions, smoked provolone and grated parmesan cheeses — and a half L’il Italy — roasted garlic and olive oil sauce, pepperoni, roma tomatoes, more mushrooms, black olives, more smoked provolone and grated parmesan cheeses, fresh basil and Italian seasonings.

We ate the whole pie, listening to the psychedelic sounds of Caravan, Steely Dan and Tangerine Dream.

Beau Jo’s is a shining beacon of hope in a dark world of mediocre, greasy pizza.

Beau Jo’s. 2690 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303-554-5312.