Longmont Pizzeria Brings Home All-time Pie Award
By Elise Oberliesen | Photos courtesy Urban Field Pizza and Market
Ever feel like you can’t get enough pizza? People devour this cheesy, saucy, bread invention because each bite sends ripples of ecstasy throughout your mouth—not to mention its olfactory bliss. Award-winning pizza chef Nick Swanson, knows this all of this too well—that’s why his customers at Urban Field Pizza and Market always leave with full bellies and big grins.
“ There’s no better feeling than to see someone take that first bite of pizza and to see their eyes light up…Nick Swanson
“There’s no better feeling than to see someone take that first bite of pizza and to see their eyes light up,” Swanson said. “And to know you executed something so well while they’re eating something you just created—that feeling never gets old.” He also enjoys seeing his cooks receive acknowledgement for all their hard work.
“They are the backbone of what we do,” Swanson said.
So it’s no surprise that Nick’s pies are mouth-watering delish. That’s because this Longmont pizza man placed 7th for ‘Best Square Pizza’ in the world at the 2023 International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in March 2023. Plus, Urban Field Pizza Market earned No. 1 pizza place in Colorado.
What’s even more remarkable is that the co-owners of Urban Field laid out their restaurant plans in 2021 during the middle of a pandemic. Working with his partners, Paul Nashak, Lindsey Beddard and Darrin Gilman, this dynamic foursome opened Urban Field on May 4, 2022—so you can guess what that means.
“Now we’re planning our one-year anniversary. We are just waiting for full-blown patio season to arrive,” Swanson said. Adding that celebrations are expected to kickoff in June.
Long road to success
Before Swanson was playing with pies and building award-winning pizzas, he spent the past 20-years perfecting his kitchen skills. Back in the day, Swanson worked for Anthony Justice, former owner of Boulder-based Bacaro. Seeing Swanson’s ambition, Justice sponsored him for an apprenticeship in Italy.
Before he knew it, Swanson was chopping garlic cloves and sampling fine olive oils at a restaurant kitchen in Italy. All while learning to master old-world culinary skills that bring out the subtle yet striking flavors of cucina Italiana, which means Italian cuisine.
”I worked at a restaurant in northwest Italy-in the town of Benevello—right outside of Alba, for about a month and a half. It was just long enough to bring a few recipes home,” Swanson said.
One of the his favorite recipes is a ravioli dish called Agnolotti del plin. This dish is nothing like traditional meat or cheese ravioli, he said. The meats are braised in white wine, which adds a unique flavor.
“The dish is made with veal, pork and rabbit, plus egg yolk, ricotta, parmesan cheese. I really like the shape of the ravioli because it’s not the usual shape of ravioli and it takes more finesses and skill to prepare it.”
After returning from Italy, Swanson decided to deepen his skills at a French culinary school in Manhattan. He worked in the city for three years including working for world renowned Chef Jean Georges –known for his restaurants worldwide, spanning the globe from Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami, to Tokyo, France and Morocco.
Prior to opening a pizza place, Swanson helped open Pasta Vino on Pearl Street, and he worked in various capacities within Boulder-based Mountain Sun Pub and Breweries with his restaurant partners. Looking at Swanson’s background—it seems he has given many years to his vocation before bringing home this a prestigious award to Longmont.