Forging a doughy road West | VailDaily.com
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Forging a doughy road West

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
HL Old Forge Pizza 1 DT 4-21-08
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EDWARDS ” When Pennsylvania native Sarah Millett opened up an Old Forge Pizza in Edwards last year she had only two things in mind ” making money and bringing a little slice of her home state to Colorado.

According to Millett, who moved to Edwards with her husband two years ago, the Old Forge style of pizza originated in the town of Old Forge, Pennsylvania. A coal-mining town with an ethnically diverse population, Old Forge pizza sprung from Sicilian-style recipes created in the area that eventually found their way into the local restaurants and pizzerias.

“I know we have pizza here, but we just don’t have the variety of pizza,” Millett said.

There were so many pizza joints with so many styles of pizza to choose from in her hometown of Scranton, but once she moved West those options were gone, she said.

In their absence Millett decided to start an Old Forge Pizza franchise not only to offer the residents of Eagle Valley a new option, but to bring that old-town feel that she missed so much back into her life.

Millett spent time working with an Old Forge Pizza owner from Pennsylvania to perfect the recipe for high-altitude conditions. Inside Old Forge Pizza one can sit and enjoy a pie or take advantage of their bake-at-home option. With colorful names like the Classic Red, Classic White and Classic Green (each describes the sauce used on the pie), Old Forge stands out in the world of local pizza. Don’t order a pie, order a half tray or full tray, depending on how hungry you are. Their crust is thick and made fresh daily in house (as is their sauce) and baked in a rectangular shape. Millett said that she stays away from the standard mozzarella cheese that most pizzerias use, opting instead for a fresh blend of cheeses from Wisconsin that includes provolone, American and cheddar.

Helping her run the place is Brian Butler, who coincidentally, also hails from Scranton. Butler handles many of the day-to-day operations and is part-equity owner of Old Forge Pizza in Edwards and loves the pizza for the same reasons Millett does ” the taste, and the fact that it reminds him of home.

“I remember the first day I saw the (Old Forge Pizza) sign out front,” recalled Butler, who said he couldn’t believe what he was looking at. He joined the team per Millett’s request.

Millett and Butler have a long way to go to compete with established pizza joints in the area, but they believe in their product and stand behind its quality. Both said they are confident Old Forge Pizza is beginning to take root in the Colorado community ” some 2,000 miles away from where it originated ” but the last thing they want to do is lose the home-grown appeal of the place for the sake of business.

The Old Forge recipe seems to be catching on little by little though. Millett describes it as the kind of pizza that becomes addicting once people try it.

Ben Marshall of Edwards and his girlfriend Carryn Nicholas have been converted and are now believers.

“The first time we went there we were a little iffy about it but then you just kind of get hooked on it,” said Marshall, whose favorite Old Forge specialty is the Classic Hot Wing pizza.

“It’s definitely the only place we’ll get pizza from now,” Marshall said.

High Life Writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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