This is a story about yeast, mozzarella, tomatoes and pepperoni. Oh, and love; there’s love too. So yes, it’s the best kind of story because it’s about pizza and love and really, what else do you need?
As there aren’t enough pages in the entire Library of Congress to do justice to the glory that is pizza, and also because you’re probably short on time, I’ll give you the CliffsNotes version up top: Barchetta is making some of the best pizza in Boulder, and your life would be a lot happier if you were there eating that pizza right now.
Now that you’ve got the gist of it, feel free to read on for the story. Or not, because you’ve got a pizza eating mission, and I fully understand that that takes priority and I won’t take offense. But if you’re interested, here is the story of Jesse Jensen’s love affair with pizza.
Jesse started his working life at Little Caesars when he was 15, and while sure, the chain may not represent the pinnacle of the pizza making craft, it taught him that pizza, counter to popular opinion, does not just miraculously appear but rather must be made. And so he learned to make it.
He liked working in a professional kitchen, and he got better and better and better. He really mastered the pizza making art working his way up to Chef de Cuisine at Pearl Street’s Pizzeria Locale, and he soaked up the creativity and refinement of Chef Kelly Whitaker working for him at Basta and The Wolf’s Tailor. Jesse became obsessed with locally milled flours, the creamiest mozzarellas, and unexpected flavor combinations, and in 2021 he took all that he learned and loved and created Barchetta. Essentially, a love letter to pizza.
“I’ve always loved making pizzas,” Jesse says. “We started by calling it neo-Neapolitan style, but we’re inspired by all kinds of pizza. We just want to make really great pizza; we’re not too hung up on labels.”
Jesse’s pizzas have a chewy-crispy crust, and a mix of modern and traditional toppings. Take the Ruby, a triple cheesed, vodka sauce creation, or the white pie Potato Boy, with guanciale, rosemary, potatoes, cheese, and cured egg yolk. Or go totally classic with the Queen, a garlicky spin on the margherita, or the pepperoni topped Red Barchetta. (All pizzas can be made gluten free.)
Besides putting vodka sauce and potatoes on pizza, Barchetta innovates with its self-pour tap wall. You can pour as much or as little as you’d like of the rotating six beers and eight non-beers (seltzers, wines, a spritz), all of which are priced by the ounce. (Within reason; Barchetta has some rules in place so no one is overserved.)
On the walls, you’ll see Jesse’s love of animation in the form of 50 cartoon drawings by his other love, wife Sydney Miller. They complete the retro-modern diner vibe, which, with its sliding windows paying homage to the building’s original purpose as an auto mechanic, is nice and all, but you’re there for the pizza, and nothing else much matters.
That’s what it comes down to at Barchetta: the love of pizza. The flour, yeast, mozzarella and toppings that, although mighty on their own, come together to form a love language that speaks to everyone. Like this story, at Barchetta it all begins and ends with pizza.