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Crosscut's Salto pizza —Photo by Aaron Bible

Roadtrip Restaurant: Crosscut Pizzeria & Taphouse

Head up to this Nederland restaurant for wood-fired pies in a laid-back setting.

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Crosscut Pizzeria & Taphouse opened in the small mountain town of Nederland in late 2015, and it’s already secured a devoted following. As a part of the growing national phenomenon of wood-fired pizza joints, family-run Crosscut stands out for its friendly atmosphere, serious foodie influence, and superb pies.

While the straightforward menu of 12-inch pizzas rotates regularly, my favorite Crosscut staple is the Salto ($14). Based solely on its ingredients, the Salto may seem like a normal sausage, pepper, and cheese number, but it’s far more than that. Fresh mozzarella, “Clyde’s” pork shoulder sausage, and an insightful mix of house-pickled Anaheim, fresh bell, and roasted red peppers combine for a taste sensation you won’t soon forget. Thanks to the high heat of the wood-fired oven and a solid dough recipe (organic Colorado-milled flour allowed to ferment and rise naturally for three days), the flavorful crust is thin, crisp, and dotted with spots of char. Like all of Crosscut’s pizzas, the Salto cooks for a mere 90 seconds in the 750° oven, and it’s just big enough for one really hungry person.

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As it turns out, there’s an interesting story behind the Salto, which is named after the local Nederland coffee and bike shop Salto Coffee Works, where Crosscut got its start. Dawn Dennison would park her mobile pizza oven on the Salto patio on summer nights and cook pies for an eager crowd of Front Range bike enthusiasts and foodies. Now, those same patrons are making the trek from near and far to Dennison and Co.’s (she co-owns Crosscut with her husband Tom Plant as well as Shannon Tupa and her husband Peter Marshall) brick-and-mortar location for the same stellar pizzas, as well as the fresh salads, starters, and house-made ice cream. Whether you’re looking for a bite and a beer after a day of skiing at Eldora or simply a quick evening escape to the mountains, Crosscut is a worthy destination on any pizza-lover’s map.

4 E. First St., Nederland, 303-258-3519

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