Taos pizza pies
Perfect après ski or after any day outdoors
By Tamra Testerman
Pizza is a food known and loved universally. Pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives and cheese, pineapple, green chile or arugula – you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to what you want on your pizza, and those who make it know that customer customization reigns supreme.
Pizza can be readily shared by two or more people (or by a single diner with a good appetite), can be made quickly, less than 20 minutes in many ovens, and if there are leftovers, it makes for a couple of tasty meals. And because it can accommodate all ranges of dietary restrictions, it may just be the perfect food for a pandemic.
According to local pizzerias, business has remained good throughout the many twists and turns of the pandemic. In fact, those already well-versed in the world of takeout and delivery actually thrived. Now they are poised with old and new customers gained during the shutdowns to offer an eclectic range of pizza toppings and pies sure to please every pizza lover.
Venisha Rusk of Chalupp’s Pizza, at 108 Siler Road in Taos, said they are serving up more pizzas than ever, and business has never been better. ”We have our pre-pandemic regulars and now because of COVID, many new customers.”
Rusk said the specialty pizzas like the Meat Lovers and Hawaiian are popular as are the vegetarian options. For families who want a one-stop shop for dinner, they offer a special that includes two extra-large pizzas with a choice of one topping plus 40 buffalo wings for $54. She recommends on weekends that you order as far in advance as possible.
“We need to get people happier,” Rusk said, adding, “We can start by making them some pizza!” To see the menu on their Facebook page go to facebook.com/Chalupps-Pizza. To order a no-contact delivery or curbside pickup, call (575) 758-0090.
North valley go-to
Pizaños, located on State Road 150 in El Prado, has a warm, funky, alpine ski village pub aesthetic. Server Janet Muniz said two of the popular pizzas are the Taoseño, consisting of pepperoni or Italian sausage, green chile and mushrooms, and the Río Grande, which includes pepperoni, Italian sausage and Canadian bacon, bell peppers, mushrooms and cheese.
“We sell a lot of these to our local customers and adventurous travelers,” Muniz said, noting that while many restaurants laid off staff during the pandemic, her boss accommodated the servers by giving everyone three shifts. “The good days now don’t compare to before the coronavirus pandemic, but there is a steady flow of familiar faces looking for comfort food.” The only item not offered on their takeout menu are the sandwiches.
Pizaños waitstaff, like many area restaurants, are operating without tips, so they are taking a hard hit. Muniz said she is grateful to have a few shifts and to see her customers happy. To see their menu, visit Pizaños’ Facebook site at facebook.com/taospizza. To order, call (575) 776-1050.
Eclectic, original local fave
Taos Pizza Out Back’s Brandon Short said business is steady now after a dip with the onset of the pandemic. But now he says, “Things are moving pretty good.” The artsy “hippy” vibe dining room, located at 712 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, is open with patio seating as well, but he says takeout is still the most popular option for Out Back folks these days.
The menu is eclectic and one of the most original in the town. There are gluten-free crust options. The most popular pizza on the menu is called The Shredder – a name harking back to the title given to an accomplished snowboarder. The pizza is drizzled with smoked mozzarella, fresh tomato, green chile, mushrooms, choice of meat, all topped with the house dressing.
Short said there are also gourmet pizzas available, made to order with names like Pizza Diablo, a pie with bell peppers, onion, chicken breast, chipotle chile, mozzarella and no red sauce. For chicken lovers there is the Pizza Florentine. On top of the pie you’ll find fresh spinach, fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken breast, mushrooms, capers, garlic – all sautéed in white wine. To see their menu visit taospizzaoutback.com. To order call (575) 758-3112.
Taos chain gang
For those who have a hankering for the menus of the local pizza chains, check out Dominos in town, at 710 Paseo del Pueblo Sur. To order no-contact delivery or curbside pickup, call (575) 779-3030.
Pizza Hut is at 1034 Paseo del Pueblo Sur. For delivery and pickup call (575) 758-8665.