June 1, 2015 |

Conversation with Mike Miller, Basil Doc’s, Denver

By Pizza Today

mikr miller, basil doc, denver, colorado, pizzeria, space sharing

Mike Miller, owner of Basil Doc’s, Denver, Colorado

Mike lets us in on the Basil Doc’s concept and its unique space-sharing program

Basil Doc’s Pizza
Denver, Colorado

Mike Miller purchased the original three-year-old Basil Doc’s in 1999. Today, the pizza company is a three-unit operation centered on a philosophy of fresh, green and neighborhood.


The BDP product is a Connecticut-style pizza — as close as BDP can get to making a “New Haven” pizza without actually operating in New Haven. Four simple ingredients define our dough — flour (high gluten, hard winter wheat and stone ground), sea salt, ‘filtered’ water and live yeast. The ovens we use are “old school” Blodgett 1048’s cooking at +/- 600 degrees. We are fresh, green, local — situated in three distinct neighborhoods (Washington Park, Crestmoor, Virginia Village).

The original BDP location was purchased in 1999. The product is unique and second to none. The concept is “scaleable”—expandable without a huge capital investment. We do not, have not and most likely will never add a delivery component to the concept equation — adds too many obstacles, unknowns and competition with the chain operations.

At the height of the BDP brand (2003-2006), there were five company-owned operations along with two licensed outlets, as well as a full service restaurant concept branded under a totally different name. Over the course of time and numerous business decisions (socio-economic considerations) the Basil Doc’s Pizza brand has reduced to three outlets, as well as Basil Doc’s Bistro, a concept branded under the BDP umbrella. From 2003 through 2005 Basil Doc’s Pizza was voted the Best Pizza in Denver by: Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and 5280 Magazine. Since 2006 the restaurant industry here in Denver has grown steadily and currently is exploding, especially in the pizza segment. Two words: simply crazy!

Operations — it is me, a one-man show when it comes to management and all components associated with operations. Thus, reducing to three very vibrant operations with ‘good’ long-term leases makes sense considering the overall business environment here in Denver. BDP is fortunate: we have a very strong Basil Doc’s Pizza brand and we have several long term team members (15-plus years each). All BDP team members are respected and treated as critical to the longevity of the BDP brand. Each and every team member is held accountable and responsible, as all professionals should be, and understand the consequences for their actions. All BDP team members are treated as restaurant industry professionals — something that is lacking in today’s restaurant industry (in my opinion). Yes, most of our positions are considered entry level, however, without these critical component employees we simply do not operate. In addition, each and every BDP team member is cross-trained, absolutely critical for our continued survival. The BDP team is all individuals and treated as thus — unique individuals with mutual respect.

Space-share opportunities are something we have incorporated in our business practices and execution for a number of years (since 2002). We have fully licensed and Board of Health inspected production kitchens that are used from 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. Why not space share and rent out the production facilities to the correct…and right fit operator?

The space share helps offset our overhead and provides the opportunity for an entrepreneur to take a flier with their concept (passion) without having a huge capital investment. There has to be unrelenting respect between the parties and honor between the participants is not negotiable. Currently, we are space sharing our Washington Park location with a concept that recently opened in the RINO district (Biju’s Little Curry shop) here in Denver that simply does not have sufficient prep space for their current sales volume. Biju’s has access to the BDP facility from 10 p.m. to 3 p.m. daily, a 17-hour time block they are able to prep — a win/win for all.


Online Exclusive

The breakfast program — Basil Doc’s Bistro operating from the CRESTMOOR location is a concept we developed late in 2014. We rolled this concept out in January of this year. All burritos are ‘hand rolled’ using locally made and sourced large tortillas – regular and whole wheat. OK, each basic BREAKFAST burrito starts with: your choice of tortilla, scrambled ‘cage free’ eggs, vegetarian pinto beans, potatoes (hash brown), cheese (low moisture/part skim mozzarella) and your choice of HOME MADE green chili or red salsa. Then customers can add any additional ‘stuffing’ for $0.75 – all of our pizza toppings are in play as burrito ‘stuffings.’ This component enhances the typical breakfast burrito offerings that ‘other’ breakfast burrito makers DO NOT have at their disposal. Again, Naturally Better or Better Naturally. Either way, BD Bistro has you covered. In addition to the Breakfast Burritos, we offer a complete selection of ‘home baked’ treats – cookies, muffins, biscotti, cinnamon rolls, scones, etc that are truly baked on location, each and everyday by an BD Bistro Team member that is truly passionate about baking. The coffee beverages – all things caffeinated – are supported by our bean roaster: Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea. Yes, we have espresso based drinks, chai tea, Waterfall tea selections and on the horizon, ice tea, fresh squeezed lemonade as well as other seasonal beverages.