Back in early February, Dio Mio founders Alex Figura and Spencer White teased their upcoming project with a series of pop-ups. What would be unveiled as Redeemer Pizza generated immediate buzz — its naturally-leavened sourdough pies made a memorable imprint on those lucky enough to get their hands on the limited early stock. At the end of June, the smell of that same pizza began wafting through RiNo, with folks enjoying drinks on the Meadowlark patio getting a direct blast from the adjacent slice window. The opening of the window continued the winter’s gradual rollout, with the full-service dining room only opening as recently as August 25. Each step has been emblematic of an unhurried dynamism that seems to permeate the restaurant, with Figura and White taking a casual approach to excellence that appears to be adapted with each new day.
There’s no question that the food — be it the small list of appetizers that were largely transitioned from Dio Mio or the equally compact list of pizza options — is top tier. Dio Mio hasn’t consistently endeared itself to the neighborhood since 2016 by accident. Redeemer takes a similar less-is-more approach. “Fewer ingredients is always Alex and Spencer’s M.O.,” said co-owner and director of communications LuLu Clair. The philosophy is apparent across every corner of the menu, which bodes especially well for pizza. The dialed-in simplicity, with each element acting in perfect harmony, is entirely consistent. Before Redeemer evolved into its current incarnation, Figura and White had been planning on opening a bakery. “The two of them are both exceptional bakers,” continued Clair. The commitment to the craft shows, with each pie displaying an inherent knowledge that greatness is necessarily built into the foundation.
Be it that the foundation is firm, it appears that it’s all fun from there. Regular and square slices of the day — an alley exclusive — are generated completely whimsically, with staff often experimenting before one of the owners arrives to stamp an approval. Playfulness provides the backdrop for elegance down to the detail, with the outdoor window leaning more towards the former and the dining room never being too refined for a pizza-dripped MF Doom wall-hanging. The wine — curated by general manager Sara Vansplinter, who also helms Oh Golly Dumplings — favors rarer, smaller and more female-owned vineyards. “It’s all just good pizza wine,” grinned Vansplinter. The cocktails, which she also developed, are all bright and refreshing, with the Rolling Hills ($13) — featuring mezcal, yellow chartreuse, passion fruit, dill and lime — acting as a good example of the kind of gusto that underpins the options. Pizza-wise there are currently only five standard choices. Each one will do the trick, though the Diavolo ($25) with pepperoncini, soppressata, pepperoni and pickled chilis is sure to deliver the most kick. The house-made dilly ranch and chili honey are essential dips, verifying that sauce indeed ties it all together.
That Redeemer has chosen to develop its dual identities was largely the result of the team trying to play to the neighborhood, each side showing the versatility of the fare. Clair says the slice window will likely begin serving seven days a week, though it would seem that much like everything else the restaurant does, it will all be done gracefully, and in due time.
Redeemer Pizza is located at 2705 Larimer St., Denver. It is open Wednesday – Saturday from 5 – 10 p.m.
All photography by Kori Hazel.