Fort Lupton-based Melissa Rickman offers up some of Colorado's finest Italian-inspired food

On the front range of Colorado, almost a mile high, is the beautiful town of Fort Lupton. This pint-size outpost has some interesting claims to fame: It is home to Brian Shaw, leading American Strongman competitor from 2011 to 2016, and the birthplace of John Naka, bonsai sculpting grand master—and, thanks to Wholly Stromboli, offers up some of Colorado’s finest Italian-inspired eats.

Located in downtown Fort Lupton, Wholly Stromboli houses some secrets from the past, as well as some of the present’s greatest flavors on the range. Initially, owner Melissa Rickman didn’t want to even consider serving pizza, but she was coerced by her husband’s in-depth research into pizza creation, and the rest is history. Restoring their two-story location, they discovered a beautiful brick surface beneath lackluster Sheetrock walls. This led to the decision to remove all the Sheetrock and convert the full basement area into a banquet hall. Upon discovering whiskey bottles and newspapers from the 1930s in the original drop ceiling, they decided to make the basement space into a speakeasy, capturing the history and feel of the original building.

Bringing her passion for stromboli instilled by her mother, plus a knack for taking traditional dishes and adding her own spin, Rickman added pizzas to her growing menu, and Wholly Stromboli was born. Melissa and her team continue to serve innovative items, such as the Divorce Soup, Triple Bypass stromboli and numerous pasta dishes, all served with housemade sauces. “Our belief is that we’ll feed you like your mama would,” Rickman says, “and that goes for the hospitality, too. When you’re here at Wholly Stromboli, you’re family.”

Staten Island Sausage,Pepper & Onion ’Boli

Ingredients

8-oz. dough ball
8 oz. Italian sausage, crumbled
2 oz. yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 oz. green pepper, thinly sliced
2-3 slices smoked provolone cheese
Olive oil, for cooking

Heat two sauté pans on medium-high, adding a small amount of olive oil to each. Add the Italian sausage to one pan, crumbling as finely as possible until browned. Add the yellow onions and green peppers to the second pan. Once the vegetable mixture begins to caramelize, add the browned sausage. Sauté the mixture until the veggies caramelize fully.

Roll out the dough ball to an 11”-by-6” oval. Place the provolone slices directly on the dough. Place the sausage/vegetable mixture on top of the cheese slices, leaving a ½” to 1” clean edge at the top of the dough to create a clean seal. Roll the stromboli, making sure to keep the filling inside and rolled under the dough. Gently tuck the ends of the dough when fully rolled, ensuring the seal is on the bottom of the stromboli. Place on a nonstick pan. Bake at 550°F for about 8 minutes, or until firm. Remove from the oven when golden brown and serve with your preferred sauce.

There it is: the Staten Island Sausage, Pepper & Onion ’Boli—an easy recipe that can be made in either the home or restaurant.