- Griffin Swartzell
- Pizza avoids a soggy middle, but could use a flavor punch.
Ice Cave Cider House has long been one of Monument’s best kept secrets, lacking signage and all but hidden around the back corner of a little stucco building. Now, owners Julie and David Troudt have made a bold expansion, growing the business to include a 12-tap wine bar, wood-oven pizzas, patio seating and, perhaps most shocking, a streetside storefront bearing the company logo.
Things haven’t changed that much, though; the wine bar and pizzeria operates under the name 174W but lacks any signage of its own. Even the better part of a year after its September 2018 opening, the spot still sees people coming in to ask what business is there. Those passersby enter to find a corrugated steel-lined bar and a chic, dark interior with high-top tables and couch seating. Down the hall, the din from regulars packing the original cidery tap room gets muted but echoes through nonetheless, making it unmistakable where the locals come to drink.
174W offers a selection of pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven just outside of the small prep kitchen. Topping combos largely defer to American pizzeria standards; it’s been a hot minute since we’ve seen a craftier spot offer a meat lovers’ pizza, for example. But we’re drawn to the seasonal pizza, which comes with garlic olive oil instead of red sauce, and mozzarella, tomatoes, prosciutto, and olive tapenade. The crust lands cracker-thin with a good char on the bottom, and each slice stands up admirably; there’s no sog in the middle to speak of. That said, the tomatoes and prosciutto can’t stand up to the powerful punchy brininess of the tapenade. We’d find the dish better composed if the tapenade had a strong flavor to bump up against, perhaps, something like sausage.
Location Details 174W
We encounter a similar flavor imbalance in the dessert pizza, which tops the same cracker-thin crust with thinly sliced apples, mascarpone and cinnamon. These flavors, lovely in their own right, need a stronger component to stand up to the char of the crust.
174W has done something very eco-friendly with its service, though, offering all of its pizzas in GreenBox boxes, a product first shown on the TV investment show Shark Tank. The GreenBox’s perforated lid splits into four small plates, and the remainder of the box folds into a triangular to-go container, a little less than half the size of a typical pizza box.
The cardboard lines up tonally with other elements of service here. When we order a pair of 2-ounce wine pours, building something of a flight, our bartender writes the name of each wine on the base of the glass; neighborhood at 174W means informal, not just convenient.
As for the wines themselves, they’re all made in Colorado. We start with a viognier blended at D’Vine Wine in Manitou Springs, which sits deep golden in the glass, offering a boozy, honey-pear-spice nose. It sips clean and mild with a grassy quality that we’re not feeling that night; the bartender guides us to a different, drier viognier from Grande River Vineyards and gives us a discount on the former. She also points us at Red Fox Cellars’ Loco Motive, a white blend aged in tequila barrels that we find lovely with a good wood finish, bearing only hints of tequila. While we’ve had more elevated wine tasting experiences, we’ve had few quite so relaxed and inviting. And for that, 174W’s a treat.