Pazzo’s dishes up pizza — and love — in the Vail Valley
For 28 years, Pazzo’s has been dishing up pizza — and love — in the Vail Valley. Three friends, Mike O’Meara, “Grateful Mike;” Tom Clinton “Powder Tom;” and Bryan Hutchinson “Hutch,” met in the mountains of Vail in the early 1980s. The three enjoyed the quintessential snow bum lifestyle for several years before deciding to open their own pizza parlor in 1990.
“We were in the right place at the right time,” explains Hutch. “A space became available (in Vail Village) and we opened up Pazzo’s.”
Loosely translated as “crazy boys” in Italian, Pazzo’s quickly became a popular place with both locals and visitors. The open kitchen allowed friends and guests to watch the “crazy boys cooking” and the skeleton décor, which started as a gift from Hutch’s sister (the original two adorn the restrooms), quickly became iconic. The family vibe has been baked into Pazzo’s from the beginning and the tradition continues. Hutch’s son and daughter work at Pazzo’s in Vail, as does his wife, sometimes. And the number of marriages that have been forged here? There are at least five — and counting.
In 1997, the trio took on a new partner, Mark Caldwell, and opened Pazzo’s in Avon, continuing the tradition of “great staff, fun environment and great food,” Hutch says. In 2008, Pazzo’s once again moved westward, opening a third location in Eagle.
Pazzo’s is proof that when you do something well, the rest is easy. There’s excellent pizza (of course), but the options also include hearty pasta dishes, sandwiches and “pazzones,” Pazzo’s version of a calzone. It’s a place where you can run in for a slice on your way home from the slopes or gather with friends and family. But no matter which location you visit, you’ll leave feeling like you’re a part of the crew — one of the pazzos.
The newest and quite possibly the most unique dining experience in the Valley Valley isn’t at a new restaurant, but rather in a old gondola car in a new setting.