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Telluride: Brown Dog Pizza

Main street in Telluride

Telluride is one of those cities that is both magical and memorable. Here is a parallel – Prague provides visitors the atmosphere of visiting a real medieval city, that characteristic foggy view of slowly crumbling buildings during the dark ages that are so common in fairy tales. Words could barely describe such a city, and it is best to experience this by travelling there. Similarly, Telluride is like nothing I have seen or been before. A small town in west Colorado, Telluride is nested in the mountains in the San Juan National Forest. It is a stunning drive up the town that is world famous for skiing and snowboarding in the winter. In late fall, the leaves just turn red and the foliage is utterly beautiful. I arrived in Telluride in the off seasons on a weekday, and the city is very peaceful. Just like most resort towns, there are plenty of restaurants and shops cater to the wealthy. I enjoyed the walk around town in the crisp weather, but it is time for a quick lunch before heading north. I planned to go to a Middle Eastern restaurant, but that was already close; Brown Dog Pizza was my second choice and right around the corner.

Back corner

I knew I stumbled into something good because it is crowded; there should be nobody in town. From the conversations, it seemed like everyone is a local. These are instructors and employees of shops around town, taking the day easy before the rush from the ski season, which is about to start in a week or two. In fact, snow blanketed the town not long after I left. I’m very glad I didn’t get trap on the top of the mountains, as much as Telluride is such a stunning town. There is a plethora of options for the choice of pizza, but my eyes caught the award-winning pizza. I settled on the small Brooklyn Bridge Detroit Style Pizza. This pizza won 1st place in the International Pizza challenge in 2014. I might not have heard of this award, but Brown Dog only won first prize twice over the years, which shows some prestige in the award. Of the two winning choices, I decided for something closer to what I like, a meat pizza. I have also never had Detroit style pizza, which is made in square pans. It is interesting that they chose to cross this pizza between NY and MI. I would think they

Stream running across the city.

would use NY thin slices style for the Brooklyn bridge pizza!


The wait is fine – they have to bake the pizza after all, and I rather it be slow than fast. People can be so impatient with pizza, whereas I was trained in the art of waiting (for pizza) when I was living in Illinois. If someone serves you a deep-dish pizza in less than 40 minutes, run. It takes time for the dough to rise, and more for thicker pizza to cook. I have noticed that pizza that are cooked faster (and at a higher temperature) aren’t as tasty as those that took their time. I concluded that it might have to do with the protein denatured at high temperatures, similarly to how to caramelize onion.

Brown Dog Pizza’s Brooklyn Pizza, 1st Place – International Pizza Challenge 2014 (Traditional Division): signature pizza sauce / mozzarella and brick cheese / creamy NY ricotta / cupping pepperoni / hand pinched Italian sausage / fresh chopped garlic / Sicilian oregano / pecorino Romano cheese

The square sliced pizza is adorable. It comes in a personal square pan, and I requested for chili flakes. The first thing I noticed is the ricotta cheese on the top of the pizza. I love cheese, but I like them melted into the pizza, like the mozzarella on the pizza slices. These white blobs of ricotta scared me a little, but everything else looks like the usual meat lover pizza toppings. Well, I have already made my decision, and there is no way I’m returning this, so I take a bite into the ricotta cheese. You know that feeling when you admit defeat because someone is right all along, and you should have listened to the professionals? This is that moment – I realized the reason I’m dining here, and they have won 1st place at the International Pizza Challenge. The texture is so interesting, and the coolness of the ricotta cheese on the hot pizza is such a unique experience. On top of that, the salty and flavorful cheese, meat and pizza sauce provides such a contrast to the “dull” ricotta cheese. I’m mesmerized by this experience.

Street in town.
The end of Telluride.
More streets.

Who would have thought that a touristy resort town, in the middle of nowhere, could bake such an amazing pizza, This pizza just shot up to the top of my pizza ranking in the country, and I’m not afraid to say it might be the best pizza I have had in a long while. I never plan to come to Telluride, it was just a break from the long drive across the United States, and Brown Dog just happened to be the easiest choice for a quick lunch. Yet, this is where I found such a good pizza. There is some regret, because I would not be coming back anytime soon, and it would be hard for me to find a pizza like this. Just like the story books, this pizza would be locked behind a memory in the middle of a snowy mountain. At least I know something this good could exist.

Brown Dog Pizza

Visited: Oct 17th, 2019 at 14:00 for lunch.
Address: 110 E Colorado Ave, Telluride

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