The white butcher paper and cup of crayons call to me when I take my seat at Blue Moose Pizza. While I know that it was probably provided for the younger guests that flock to the restaurant, I can’t resist sketching a small stick figure waving hello, the extent of my artistic ability. But that’s the bliss of being in Blue Moose: You can come as you are with only one requirement — come hungry.
The restaurant is perfect for families, with plenty of kid-friendly pizza options and plenty of room in the adjacent Vail Square for the little ones to burn off any extra energy before dinner. But it’s also ideal for adults, with a great selection of Colorado craft beers, happy hour specials and grown-up pizza choices, too.
After ordering a Screaming Eagle ESB from Eagle-based Bonfire Brewing (one of five Colorado beers on tap — and they have another six available in bottles), I surveyed the menu. It’s almost impossible to turn down wings, especially when I caught a whiff of spicy goodness coming from the table beside me. Served with “buffalo chips,” the wings were perfectly cooked with a well-balanced burn that made me thankful for the beer. The buffalo chips, hand-cut rounds of potatoes dusted with “buffalo” seasoning, are impossible to stop eating. The sauce from the wings seeps into the chips and makes them even spicier, but the crispness remains. They are impossible to resist.
The menu includes salads, sandwiches, calzones and Italian entrees, but I quickly breeze over those offerings and focus on the pizza. Blue Moose has three different types of crust — original, whole wheat and gluten-free — and I decide, for the sake of investigation of course, to try them all. As it’s possible to order just a slice and choose your crust; this is a much more manageable-for-my-stomach option.
While it’s possible to create your own pizza with any myriad toppings, it’s the specialty pizzas that catch my eye. The Salad Pizzas are new, so I pick a slice of Mediterranean pizza on whole wheat. It’s light and flavorful, the artichokes and pesto hummus pairing beautifully with the “salad” of spinach and tomatoes tossed in a vinaigrette that rests on top. The gluten-free crust intrigued me, as I’m a pizza purist, and I was pleasantly surprised by the light, crispy texture paired with the cowboy pizza — it was just as tasty as the other crust options.
Though there are many reasons to return to Blue Moose Pizza, one compelling reason is the Happy Hour special from 3 –5 p.m.: an order of three “pizza sliders” oozing with cheesy buffalo sauce goodness for $4, a flight of Colorado beers for $4, or both for $6.
Winner, winner — pizza dinner.