Cortez’s new, gourmet Sol Pizzeria is a slice above

Restaurant joins strong lineup on Main Street

Timmy Wheeler tosses pizza dough while preparing an order at Sol Pizzeria at Market and Main streets in Cortez. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Timmy Wheeler tosses pizza dough while preparing an order at Sol Pizzeria at Market and Main streets in Cortez.

Stepping inside Sol Pizzeria, the aroma of freshly made pies wafts through a stylish dining area, telling your taste buds that you made the right decision.

And the specialty pizza parlor in downtown Cortez will not disappoint, offering a menu of deliciously crafted pizzas, sandwiches, appetizers and salads.

“We provide a higher-quality menu, with top-end ingredients and more unique choices you don’t see in other places,” said owner and head chef Scott Bauman.

He and co-owner Todd Folmer spent a year remodeling an empty space in the Wilson Building on the corner of Market and Main into an impressive modern restaurant.

The custom-built pizzeria has a streamlined cosmopolitan style, with abstract artwork, elevated seating areas and comfortable tables for large groups.

A former parking lot in the back has been transformed into a large dining patio that will open in milder weather.

But it’s the magic in the kitchen that will impress discriminating foodies and introduce less-experienced diners to what they’ve been missing.

A Marselles double-decker brick oven is the heart of the place, baking up 18-inch New York style pizzas to perfection.

“It weighs 4,250 pounds and can handle 16 pizzas at a time,” Bauman said.

With a lifetime of cooking experience, Bauman, formerly of the famed Metate Room, has hit a culinary home run at Sol Pizzeria.

“We make everything from scratch and focus on a nice blending of flavors using higher-quality ingredients,” he said. “They complement each other, but you can still taste each one.”

The words “affordable gourmet” come to mind while perusing the menu, and the difficult choice guarantees a return trip to sample other selections.

The Meat One pizza is a flavorful combination of three-bean hummus, red sauce and pesto, with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan, Italian sausage, meatballs, bacon and pepperoni.

The Green One pizza bursts with savory nutritious goodness, combining pesto, mozzarella and Parmesan, broccoli, roasted red bell peppers, mushrooms, avocado, and roasted pine nuts.

The appetizer selection is well done as well and has the signature touch of chef expertise.

The truffle Parmesan fries are a hit, and the Drunken Formaggio is a mouth-watering vodka-infused boursin, layered with sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and pesto, and served with warmed crostini for dipping.

Basic pizzas are served as well, and the menu includes authentic Philly cheese steaks, Italian hoagies, meatball subs and salads.

The pizzeria is set up to accommodate the lunch crowd, with a grab-and-go cooler, fast service and pizza sold by the slice. Sol also offers local wine and micro-beers.

“We’re a nice addition to the excellent eateries along Main Street,” Bauman said. “We’re in the middle of the action, and it has been going well.”

Sol Pizzeria is at 2 W. Main St., downtown Cortez. Winter hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The phone number is (970) 516-1743 (516-1PIE), and Sol’s Facebook page is at facebook.com/SolPizzeria

jmimiaga@cortezjournal.com

Scott Bauman is co-owner of the new Sol Pizzeria in Cortez. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Scott Bauman is co-owner of the new Sol Pizzeria in Cortez.