Last Updated on November 11, 2023
As you approach the dark wooden homestead structure of Tin Plate in Breckenridge, you can imagine being in the 1880s, when miners hoped their discoveries would make them rich.
This historic building was the home of the town assayer, who estimated the value of lodes. Prospectors Tom Groves and Harry Lytton extracted the largest one in Colorado. It was nicknamed “Tom’s Baby,” weighed over 13 pounds, and was stored for safekeeping in this very structure.
Not surprisingly, the giant nugget disappeared for decades until it was found in the 1970s, part of it broken off.
While you likely won’t find precious metal lodes at Tin Plate today, you will enjoy a treasure of a different kind: the best pizza in Breckenridge. The reason is owners’ James and Meagan Harris unsurpassed standard for food quality.
As part of their vision for the two-year-old restaurant, they make most of their baked products from scratch. That includes the pizza dough, bread loaves and even the accompanying butter.
I arrived here for dinner while a cold, steady rain drummed outside. Stepping into the cozy 1880s cabin made me feel welcome, like visiting a friend’s home. After enjoying a mezcal craft cocktail, I began with two favorite starters: parmesan crisps with marinara sauce and sourdough bread with butter.
Dining with a group of friends allowed me to try a variety of pies. With a diameter of ten inches, each pizza yielded about six slices with the same sourdough used for the bread. Having this ingredient made all the difference in the pizza crust.
Tin Plate Pizza Regular Menu
One of the most basic pizzas was one of the best, with pepperoni the only topping on a cheese and tomato sauce base. What made this flavor stand out was the meat. It was not greasy or overly spicy, characteristic of many other pepperoni pies. The mozzarella and sauce also contributed to the overall quality.
Tin Plate’s white pizza starts with a base of lemon ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, caramelized onion, garlic, basil oil and roasted sliced almonds. You can keep it as or add your favorite meat, like sausage, as we did. The creaminess of the cheese perfectly combined with the savory taste of the onions, garlic and sausage, along with the texture crunch of the almonds.
A margherita pizza may not be the most original variety you could choose, but place it on a sourdough crust, and the whole profile changes. Given that the kitchen makes its sauce and chooses high-quality mozzarella for its toppings, this pizza almost becomes a special treat.
Pesto chicken could be another ordinary flavor at any other pizzeria. Here, with the time-intensive care of lemon-thyme marinade, the chicken itself could be its entrée. Pairing it with fresh mozzarella, roasted cherry tomatoes and a balsamic glaze makes the pizza a symphony of savory, sweet and tangy flavors.
Unusual and Sweet
Tin Plate creates seasonal and experimental items only temporarily available. My group tried two.
Inspired by the increasingly popular Mexican style elote, this option included cotija cheese, pickled red onions, chopped roasted poblano peppers and fresh corn with mozzarella.
Like the peach and goat cheese flatbread I enjoyed at Hearthstone a few nights before, the peach and prosciutto struck the perfect balance of sweet and savory. A few touches of basil and ricotta salata provided a herby and salty accent that brought the whole combination together.
Even though I was satiated, I couldn’t resist the freshly made cookies that use the same pizza-making techniques to bake them to perfection. Like the best treats, these cookies were slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I enjoyed chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia and snickerdoodle, all of which were my favorites.
A Recipe for Collaboration
Using the freshest ingredients is just the start for distinguishing Tin Plate from the many other pizzerias in Breckenridge. Their business model centers around a collaborative effort with their employees and a unifying mantra: “We all have one reputation.”
James Harris also told me that Tin Plate, like many eateries in the area, “have taken time-intensive food preparation as a requirement, not as an option.”
Where does this inspiration come from? James said it was from “The Stones of Venice,” a book from his favorite high school literature class. The author “lamented the loss of handcrafted quality and individual artistic expression…creating something from nothing, especially with food, is a visceral part of the human experience. When we [can] make something better, to add our unique qualities…we’re rewarded with a tremendous sense of accomplishment.”
Tin Plate goes above and beyond to achieve those objectives. Flour comes from a nearby bakery, and gluten-free dough originates from another in Denver. They prepare braised short ribs for 12 hours and culture butter for 24.
But most of the care belongs to the dough-making process. It starts with mixing heirloom flour, combining their six-year-old sourdough starter, stretching and kneading it at 30-minute increments, proofing it, and then allowing it to ferment for 72 hours.
I’ve never heard of a more elaborate pizza dough process, but that’s what makes Tin Plate stand out and why you’ll agree it’s the best pizza in Breckenridge.