Maybe it’s not the end for Enzo’s End after all. The 27-year-old Denver pizza shop is scheduled to shut its doors on June 30, but owner Charlie Puma seems willing to sell the brand itself to the right buyer.

Puma announced on Facebook recently that he’s ready to retire. “Enzo’s End has reached the end!” he posted on June 13. “I’m going on a long vacation!”

The post rattled fans of Enzo’s End, which Puma opened back in 1996. It earned 66 reactions, 67 comments and 15 shares, most of which expressed the same sentiment: No one, it seems, wants Enzo’s End to close.

Puma seemed taken aback by customers’ emotional reaction to his announcement. And that led him to float an idea that likely set off light bulbs in other Denver entrepreneurs’ heads.

“Wow! I am completely blown away by the outpouring of support this weekend!” he wrote. “This level of emotional response (sadness, tears, joy, stories of weddings and kids and life events) was unexpected.”

He continued: “I’m not suggesting we have a Steve Jobs level of emotional branding, but maybe there is something at Enzo’s worth keeping intact. So please give me some feedback: Is $20,000 (less than 6 weeks’ revenue) too much to ask for the brand, trade name, menus, recipes, phone number, domain registry, goodwill, etc.?”

Puma noted that Enzo’s building and equipment would not be included in the deal, “so someone would need a restaurant, ghost kitchen, food truck, etc. to make this work. Who is young, enthusiastic and savvy?”

It’s unclear whether anyone has pursued Puma’s offer, but it stirred up conversation on the Facebook page for Denver website Westword, with readers speculating on how they might cut a deal with the retiring pizzaiolo. One commenter wrote, “If anyone knows how to negotiate, they could use the 20k and get everything from him with the kitchen and work out a deal. I would go talk to him tomorrow ‘cause I live five minutes from there. Bet you I could swing this deal.”

The pizzeria does have a solid reputation in the Mile High City. “Enzo’s End really is the living end when it comes to thin-crust pies,” Westword noted in its 2018 Best of Denver Food & Drink list. Denverite says it’s “an iconic spot…from an era of Denver that has largely been trounced by hipper, newer and costlier options,” while the Denver Post said Enzo’s End “stands alone” for its “clean-finishing, toothsome crust and 30 high-quality toppings.” The Post writer also had high praise for Enzo’s lactose-free cheese, which “has always had an ideal mix of gooey and savory, concealing a tart and perfectly applied sauce with garden-fresh tomato flavor.”

On the other hand, digital marketing and branding hasn’t exactly been a strong suit for Enzo’s End. For starters, its website appears to be gone from the internet. And its social media presence is…just barely present. Puma’s closure announcement was the restaurant’s first post on Facebook since March 2020. The company has posted a total of eight times on Instagram, five of them on the same day—March 25, 2023.

But Puma’s out-of-the-blue Facebook announcement still grabbed attention and made headlines across Denver’s news media platforms. Even so, the reaction didn’t change Puma’s mind about retirement. “It’s just been enough,” he told Westword“I’ve been doing most of the cooking myself for the last couple of years. Labor is expensive, so we do what we’ve gotta do.”

If someone will take over his lease, Puma seems ready to get down to brass tacks on selling his brand and recipes. “I’m just looking to do some new things and go on some adventures,” he said.

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