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Five Things We Learned Delivering Over Half a Million Orders for NoCo Restaurants
Five Things We Learned Delivering Over Half a Million Orders for NoCo Restaurants
November 8, 2023

  In May 2019, Nosh began as a humble restaurant co-op with just three people. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, while many businesses...

Pizza Casbah feeds authentic New York-style pizza to FoCo

Collegian | Courtesy of Pizza Casbah
Pizza Casbah’s bright neon exterior illuminates Laurel Street. The institution has been part of the Fort Collins food scene since 2005 and offers authentic New York-style pizzas.

Pizza Casbah has long been a staple for New York-style pizza near the Colorado State University campus as well as a popular local favorite.

Located at 126 W. Laurel St., Pizza Casbah was established by Deano Zahakis, a New York native who moved to Fort Collins in 1999. Shortly after, he and a friend founded Pizza Casbah, which has seen plenty of success and still going strong since its creation.


Peter Harvey, the current owner of Pizza Casbah, reflected on Zahakis’ creation of the pizzeria and what inspired him to construct it.

“He was trying to recreate the vibes when he would surf out in Long Island, where he would hit the pizza shops and arcades that were around there,” Harvey said.

Harvey takes great pride in how everything is prepared fresh and with care in-house — a process that has been set in place and respected since the creation of the establishment.

“Our main thing that I would like everyone to know is that everything is fresh here,” Harvey said. “The dough is hand-thrown; we cook it on stone. We hand-chop all of our produce. All of our sauces are made fresh. We don’t buy anything and rip it open and pour it into a bucket. Everything is made from scratch here, which sets us apart from a lot of places.”

Pizza Casbah is also home to one of the most notorious food challenges in Northern Colorado: the 30-inch pizza challenge, which originated back in 2011. 

You only have one hour to accomplish the challenge, you cannot leave your seat and you can do it with only one other person. The Pizza Casbah website even has a section on how to complete their challenge and what to consider — if you are up for it, of course. The rewards are the reimbursed $65 buy-in and well-deserved pizza-consuming bragging rights.

“It’s a 30-inch pizza with five different toppings that the customers have to choose,” Harvey said. “They have an hour to do it, and they have to eat the entire thing. We have had four groups accomplish it, and we’ve had hundreds try.”

Pizza Casbah was featured on the Food Network show “Outrageous Food” because of this challenge. The episode featured three groups of people competing to see who can finish the challenge first — or at least eat as much of the pizza as possible.

Pizza Casbah has won numerous awards spanning across over two decades of establishment, including NoCo’s Best 2021 for having the best pizza in Northern Colorado.


“We won best pizza through almost every single magazine or newspaper at some point throughout our 23 years of being here,” Harvey said. “Just recently, we did a Taste of Fort Collins competition with all the pizza places, where every pizza place submitted a pizza, and we ended up winning first place, which was a pretty cool move for us because it was based on taste, not votes.”

Along with a rich history, awards and a great pizza challenge, Pizza Casbah also outputs a great amount of involvement within the Fort Collins community.

“We do donations through CSU, the city, small nonprofit organizations,” Harvey said. “We will donate pizzas or gift cards towards any sort of cause that is local.”

The most popular menu item between locals, students and CSU faculty is the $7.99 Lunch Box Special. This item includes a large slice of pizza with up to two toppings, a drink and your choice of a side from options including garlic knots, fries, salad and much more.

Van Dougherty — a current self-described, unofficial manager of Pizza Casbah who has worked for the establishment for a year — reflects on what Pizza Casbah means to the Fort Collins community.

“Honestly, I look at (Pizza Casbah) for longevity and community,” Dougherty said. “I’ve been in Fort Collins my entire life, and for as long as I can remember, I always went to Pizza Casbah with my dad because he is from the East Coast, he likes that New York-style pizza and it’s a New York-style pizzeria that’s been here for over 20 years.”

Dougherty enjoys the uniqueness Pizza Casbah has brought to the community.

“There’s always new students coming,” Dougherty said. “There’s always new students working here. It’s one of the staples, in my eyes, of Fort Collins in the sense that you don’t get the same level of hometown pizzeria as you would from any of the chains.”

If you are looking for some good pizza within walking distance of campus, Pizza Casbah is a great choice that has plenty of fun and delicious eats. Who knows? Maybe you and a friend could also take down the iconic 30-inch pizza challenge.

Reach Christian Arndt at or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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About the Contributor
Christian Arndt, Life & Culture Director
Christian Arndt is this year's director for the life and culture desk at The Collegian. Arndt joined The Collegian in the winter of 2023, when he started as an arts and entertainment writer, primarily focusing on movie reviews, local art installations and music-curated lists. Arndt is the second life and culture director and is proud to step into this position. He is focusing on providing the best local coverage in the Fort Collins area with a focus on unique business profiles, important cultural events and fun local happenings. Arndt comes from Silverthorne, Colorado, and came to Colorado State University in the fall of 2021. He is a third-year and is majoring in journalism and media communication with a minor in English. He found his passion for writing during his English classes in high school, and eventually with the style he chose to pursue, he ended up finding a passion within journalism. Because he had no prior experience with journalism, he was adamant to join The Collegian and build up his experience and reputation there. Aside from writing for the paper, you can find him at the cinema, watching basketball, playing video games with friends, walking his adorable dog Penny Lane, snowboarding and listening to plenty of music. Arndt finds his role as a director thrilling and looks forward to providing the utmost care and consistency with the content that comes out for the life and culture desk.

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