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crested butte: secret stash

Ask me what there is to do in the mountains around Crested Butte – the last great Colorado ski town – and I’ll rattle off a list of activities to get your heart pumping or sights to open your eyes wide with wonder. But when you’ve had your fill of stunning Colorado scenery and riveting outdoor adventure, you will need to refuel. One of my favorite stops in town (and in Colorado) is Secret Stash. We take all of our visitors here and love to pop by after a long hike to quench our thirst and load up on some of the best pizza around.

secret stash

Secret Stash (or The Stash) used to sit at the top of Elk Avenue (Crested Butte’s main drag) in a small funky house with two ovens and a line of patrons out the door. Your typical wait for your order at lunch, après ski, or dinner would land you north of 45 minutes. This summer, The Stash moved to a new location in the heart of historical Crested Butte on Elk Avenue and Third Street. It’s much bigger than the old house, offering outdoor deck dining, sidewalk patio dining, several booths, tables, high tables, bar seating, and the uber fun sunken seating at the picture windows in front.

inside the stash

The wait staff – like almost any other wait staff in Crested Butte – is hipster with tats. They may not be the most professional servers, but they are super friendly and aim to please. As you step up to the hostess podium you’ll find a gift shop (t-shirts, bling, candy) to your left, the bar to your right, and the restrooms straight ahead at the back. Once seated, take in the details of the eclectic and funky decor before you begin perusing the entertaining drink menu.

The Famous Stash Volcano Bowl is just plain fun to read about. It serves four people 48 ounces of “a bunch of booze mixed with tropical fruit juices served on fire.” I’m too chicken to order that, but someday I might with three of my besties. My favorite summertime thirst-quencher is the frozen strawberry lemonade. You can get that with booze or without booze. And an even more delightful twist is when they add basil to that mix. Jeremy loves the Vegas Brainstorm a.k.a. The Best Gin and Tonic You Will Ever Have (Hendricks gin, Fever Tree tonic, fresh lime, juniper berries). In addition to The Stash’s creative drinks, they offer a decent selection of beer and wine – both on tap even!

frozen strawberry lemonade (with or without vodka)

the vegas brainstorm (gin and tonic, but awesomer)

After you’ve rattled off your drink order, have a looksee at the appetizers or consider the salad bar. But really, you ought to try some appetizers. There are two items that we order again and again. The truffle fries (a.k.a. crack fries) are french fries with white truffle oil, Parmesan cheese, green onions, and cracked black pepper served with garlic aioli. I know, you’re thinking, “French fries at a pizza joint?” Yes. Order them. The Stash wings are the other must. They grill the wings and baste them in their excellent house barbecue sauce, then top them off with green onions and sesame seeds with ranch and blue cheese dressings on the side.

the truffle fries (aka crack fries)

stash wings

Now on to the pizzas. Actually, there are pasta dishes on offer as well, but I’ve never ordered any because the pizzas are so damn good. If you want pizza by the slice, they always have a vegetarian and a meat option in addition to a good old slice of cheese pizza. We love sharing a pie or two with friends or taking the leftovers home for breakfast the next day. You can build your own pizza in small (12-inch) or large (16-inch) or choose from their list of specialty pizzas. The Stash has a nice selection of vegetarian as well as meaty pies. Our standard order is always a pepperoni and mushroom pizza.

pepperoni mushroom pizza – a classic

I’ve eaten a lot of pizzas in a lot of places, but Secret Stash has the very best crust around. I actually LIKE eating the crust because it has great flavor, a perfect crisp and chewy texture, and just enough sweetness and salt. And that’s the regular crust. They have other flavored crusts too, but I’ve always ordered the standard. As for sauces, I like my red sauce to be a balance of tang, sweetness, salt, and tomato – not too thick, but not runny. I dig their red sauce. If red sauce isn’t for you, don’t panic. You can choose roasted garlic oil, garlic butter, blue cheese, buffalo wing, pesto, chipotle, barbecue, ranch, or balsamic reduction.

texas biggin’ (it’s like a supreme with canadian bacon)

There is a good standard assortment of toppings and cheeses from which to choose as well as less traditional additions: bacon, shrimp, shaved ribeye, roasted potatoes, shredded lettuce, and sliced pickles. Too many choices? Not to worry – the specialty pizzas are there to give you some ideas or just make the decision that much easier. Of the specialties, I cannot resist the Woodward with its garlic butter base, spinach, prosciutto, mozzarella, and fresh eggs (over easy) on a salt and pepper crust. But we’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the New Potato Caboose on a server’s recommendation. If you thought it odd to order french fries at a pizza joint, how about french fries ON your pizza? It’s a red sauce pie with mozzarella, french fries, bacon, cheddar, green onions, and a drizzle of sour cream… like potato skins, but in pizza form.

the woodward

our friendly server slices up the new potato caboose

meatball pie

If you somehow managed to not fill up on drinks, appetizers, and pizza – they do offer desserts. I just never had room and haven’t looked at the dessert menu, although they offer several gelato flavors that you can scope out in the gift shop (and I assume, order at your table).

Secret Stash is a great place to enjoy some of the best noshes and libations in town after an epic day on the slopes or in the backcountry. Wind down with the locals and visitors alike in this casual, hip, upbeat mountain ski town atmosphere. They serve lunch and dinner daily until 11:00 pm and recently added breakfast service starting at 8:00 am Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This winter, The Stash will expand breakfast to a daily schedule. When you are done and feeling satisfied, walk those calories off around charming downtown Crested Butte.

Secret Stash
303 Elk Ave.
Crested Butte, CO 81224
Ph: (970) 349 6245
Twitter: @StashPizza
Facebook: Secret Stash Facebook Page

Full Disclosure: No comps. All opinions are mine.

13 nibbles at “crested butte: secret stash”

  1. Kristin says:

    Oh good gracious…would it be wrong to drive 12+ hours just to get some fries & pizza? Those look & sound fabulous!

  2. Tieghan says:

    The Stash is the BEST! I have spent a lot of time In Crested Butte since my brother went to the snowboard academy a few years back. We live in Frisco, CO, but if we could we would so move to Crested Butte. My family and I love it there. I always get the Ashe Pie though. My brother was best friends with Asher Crank ( the kid the pie is named after), so it is kind os special to us.

    Love reading through this post! So fun! I need to plan a trip up there soon. It is only fours hours and so worth it!

  3. Cindi says:

    Wow – am I hungry!

  4. Kim says:

    I love The Stash! Their gluten-free crust is the best I’ve ever had.

  5. Sam says:

    amazing…Crested Butte is the best place to live!
    Thanks Jen for the pics and write-up

  6. Randi Lynne says:

    Looks delicious and is on my list to try! I moved to Pagosa Springs one year ago and really enjoy seeing posts from the food blogs I follow about small mountain towns.

  7. Denise says:

    My experiences in CB are limited, but I often think about the pizza we had at the Secret Stash!

  8. Abbe@This is How I Cook says:

    It is not fair that you should post something like this. Why doesn’t Denver have a place like this?

  9. jenyu says:

    Kristin – NOT AT ALL! :)

    Tieghan – yes, it’s totally worth it and you should stick around to hit the slopes while you’re at it ;)

    Cindi – mmm mmm mmm!!

    Kim – Oh, I’ve never tried it before, but these guys know how to make great crust so I don’t doubt their GF crust is good too.

    Sam – you’re welcome!

    Randi – Colorado has some of THE BEST small mountain towns :)

    Denise – I know, right!? Love the stash. LOVE!

    Abbe – It wouldn’t be The Stash without the awesome mountain town vibe and the gorgeous scenery :)

  10. JennyO says:

    Best pizza and atmosphere in the nation if you ask me! We come all the way from Florida not to ski, but to wT here! YES ITS THAT GOOD! Coming again this January!

  11. Susie says:

    This is my first visit to anything like this at all! I am WAY impressed.


  12. Sarah says:

    If you order the regular crust every time, you’re seriously missing out. Always go for the salt and pepper crust. Trust me!

  13. Peter says:

    I too have been going to the “stash” since it was at the top of elk avenue!!!! You can’t forget about the meat candy!!!! You must try this!!!! Falling off the bone tender pork shanks that have a magical melt in your mouth flavor with an unbelievable Carolina sauce…. try it you will thank me!!!! Must do’s if your in the Butte for a while…. every time I’m in town…. Buddha’s belly (Pizza), crack fries, and meat candy!!! You will believe you have died and gone to heaven!!!

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