Best of Moffat County: Carelli’s serves up piping hot pizza, cold beer as winner of 6 awards
Have you got a friend coming into town who wants a taste of Italy, likes their vegetables and seeks variety in their suds? Carelli’s Pizzeria & Pasta checks all those boxes and more.
The downtown Craig eatery received a slew of 2018 Best of Moffat County awards, winning outright in six categories: Best Italian Restaurant, Best Pizza, Best Sandwich, Best Salad, Best Beer Selection and Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests.
Owned by Brett and Stephanie Etzler since 2011, the pizza parlor has been a mainstay of the local food scene by sticking to the tried and true classic pies.
“It’s all about the dough. I make all that from scratch,” Brett said. “You’ve gotta have good dough for good pizza, especially with the thinner, New York crust. Our deep dish is pretty good, too, and that one goes back to my roots, since I’m from Indiana, and I spent a lot of time in Chicago. I’ve just gotta make one of those every day.”
He added that “scratch food” is the guiding principle of the kitchen.
Submarine sandwiches that range from the meatball to the signature DC — ham and breaded chicken — are complemented by an array of leafy greens for all tastes.
The same goes for what’s on tap.
A rotating selection of microbrews coming in from near and far — such as regional providers Yampa Valley Brewing Company, Butcherknife and Palisade Brewing Company — are available for casual and serious beer lovers, be it in the form of a mild lager, a stout or a hoppy IPA.
Its spot at 465 Yampa Ave. has changed little by little in terms of design and has also added more outdoor dining options in recent years, with seating both on the backdoor patio and the front sidewalk.
A series of Saturday brunches also provides new menu selections, though Stephanie noted that “staying true” to the regular fare is also a priority. After also managing Mulligan’s Bar and Grill at Yampa Valley Golf Course for two summers, getting back to one location has been beneficial.
“We have a lot more creative energy that we’ve been able to use,” Stephanie said.
Brett and Stephanie credit their staff of about two dozen as the reason for their success.
“A lot of these people have been with us for years and years and years,” she said.
Moffat County CSU Extension Office is hosting the free “One Seed, One Community” program, which seeks to unite community by encouraging gardeners of all skill levels to plant, grow, cook, and share a featured vegetable every year.