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Old School Minnesota Flatbread Pizza Cut in Squares

I wasn't raised on this stuff, and I was appalled by it when I first moved here in 2000. But I have to admit that it's growing on me.

I consider Red's Savoy to be the archetype.
In my neck of the woods, Latuffs on 55 in Plymouth is the goods.

How do you like this type of pizza, and who does it well?

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  1. I'm with you. I'm also a transplant who was at first taken aback but I'm now warming up to it.

    Red's is good. Dulono's on Lake and (roughly) Lyndale is worth a try, especially on Fridays and Saturdays when they have free bluegrass.

    1. I was raised on Vescio's flat square-cut pizza. Vescio's rules!

      It sounds like I should check out Dulono's now that I can eat there (I love that smoking ban).


      1. I agree, Savoy's is the prototype, though my search has hardly been exhaustive. I also like Carbone's--they have a couple locations around the Cities, but, being St. Paul biased, the location I've tried is the one on Randolph, just a block or two West of Snelling. Solid neighborhood pizza joint, and they just started carrying beer.

        Actually, I'm not really sure how the various locations are connected to each other (siblings run them? cousins?)--and if they even use the same recipe, but the one on Randolph has that super thin crust that they then load up with a million and one ingredients.


        1 Reply
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Hey I'm a huge fan of Carbones myself too. The one on Randolph is THE ORIGINAL restaurant, and when they went chain, these guys said "no thanks". I actually interviewed the owners and they are getting a website up soon (www.carbonesonrandolph.com). For those of us fans who have moved out of state or want to send pizza to relatives who left MN, hey will (hopefully) be setting up something that will allow people to have frozen 'zas to ordered and shipped out from the website.

          Shhh you didn't hear that from ME ;


          PS - they also are the only Carbone's to still have the original recipe from back in the 60's.

        2. It's not just the Twin Cities. Thin pizza cut into squares is also common in Chicagoland.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jordan

            Its all over the midwest. Rolled dough, lots of sauce and toppings out to the edge, and a ton of cheese on top. Columbus and st. louis have similar pizza. Its all there is other than chains in NW Indiana, I was raised on the stuff. MMMMMMM

            1. re: Jordan

              yea, it's common all over the midwest and even up in winnipeg. i grew up in twin cities but live in western canada now. we have a 'winnpieg-style" pizza joint here, the only place in the city that prepares anything close to what i grew up on as a kid.

            2. Assuming Savoy is the standard, then you can't go wrong with Old World Pizza in Inver Grove Heights. OWP was formerly known as Pizza Factory until they moved to the new location at the intersection of Blaine Av and Upper 55th just east of Hwy 52 and South of 494.

              Great pizza in in the thin-crust-lots-of-chesse-and-spicy-sauce variety. Check out the lunch buffet which includes 8 different kinds of pizza, pasta and salad bar for $5.95.

              1. Lake Harriet Pizza (Penn & 50th) does a great version. Order with garlic and don't expect to talk to anyone for a day or two after.

                Dulono's is just as good, if not better.

                Park Tavern does a decent version too - the only way anybody ever gets me to go bowling is a promise of the pizza.

                1. I've always found the Mansetti's and Carbone's thin crusts to be well above average. I really dislike a pan or deep dish pizza (except for Eduardo's pesto and sausage stuffed, RIP), so I'm a sucker for a good, greasy, square cut thin crust.

                  That being said, if I'm really in the mood, and don't feel like driving to Red's, I always hit Broadway Pizza. Consistency rules at Broadway and I absolutely love their pepperoni and sausage.

                  Del's in Anoka also served up a great thin crust, square cut pizza.

                  1. Brianno's Deli in Eagan has fantastic flatbread pizza. Like Carbone's only better:

                    2280 Cliff Rd
                    Eagan, MN 55122
                    (651) 895-1088

                    Get the Napoletana (Sausage, pepperoni, onion & 4 cheeses), you will not be sorry. It may be my favorite pizza ever.

                    1. The type of pizza you describe isn't usually my favorite, but every so often it's just what I want. Especially this time of year.

                      I haven't scoured the metro looking for the best in this category, but in my neck of the woods, we really like Hot City pizza at 1017 W 7th St. in St. Paul. I am especially fond of the "City Special" (which I call "cheeseburger pizza"). It features sausage, onion, dill pickles, red sauce, mozz, and cheddar. I know what you're thinking, but it's really good! When you're in an artery clogging sort of mood, that is.


                      1. I grew up on the stuff. Put some sauerkraut on it and it's as Minnesota as it gets.

                        My favorite is the original Broadway Pizza.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Paz

                          sauerkraut, really? I've never heard of that.

                          1. re: FishMPLS

                            Oh, sauerkraut on pizza is great.

                            1. re: Sven

                              I've never tried it but I've always been intrigued...


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Ham (or Canadian bacon), pineapple and sauerkraut pizza on flat crust cut into squares... the archetype to me is Mabe's Pizza in Decorah, Iowa, but there used to be a pizza place in Burr Oak (about 12 miles north on US-52) that did it better.

                                Or taco pizza from Happy Joe's... sigh.

                                We have none of that here in LA.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  I've never had taco pizza. And what an odd combo, pinepple+sauerkraut! Now I'm even more intrigued. Will have to make a note of Mabe's, too.


                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                    As a Luther grad, I definitely second the Mabe's suggestion. Mabe's $5 special (medium sausage and pepperoni on Tuesday nights) got me through many an evening. Count me on the Mabe's side of the Mabe's v. Happy Joe's taco pizza discussion.

                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                      Happy Joe's Taco Pizza ... Yum. A refried bean and sausage mixture under the cheese. And cold lettuce, tomatoes, and cool ranch doritos added after the pizza came out of the oven. With hot sauce on the side. One of my favorite foods.

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                        I grew up on mabes Canadian bacon and Saurkraut pizza. this was the bomb.

                                2. re: Paz

                                  hrm, i was born and raised in MN but have never heard of saurkraut on pizza!

                                3. Sammy's on Foley Blvd in Coon Rapids. The original Sammy's is in Hibbing and it's the same pizza we ate in the 50's. Some on the internet say it's the closest thing to NY pizza in the Midwest. I never would have known...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: shoo bee doo

                                    My hat goes off to Uptown Pizza's "Magnum". This pizza is the biggest in the Mpls Market and they have to cut it in squares. I really believe they add a hint of hot sauce to their pizza sauce to give it a little extra spice.

                                  2. Try Miller Fireside Pizza on Penn and about 66th. If you are a fan of the original Macs Pizza try them.

                                    1. There is a little place on Robert Street on the Westside that sells some excellent flatbread.


                                      My daughter and I made a mean pizza at home with that flatbread, but I can't have everyone over to try that.

                                      So I've heard, but haven't tried, that the pizza place next door, Michael's Pizza 651-222-5252. 441 Robert St S St Paul, MN 55107, uses the very same flatbread.

                                      Saturday night at home sounds like a good time to have pizza...

                                      1. I forgot about Broadway...both of our kids were born @ North Memorial and we celebrated each with a greasy delicious pizza from Broadway on Broadway in Robbinsdale. Yum.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. Sammy's on Foley Blvd. A franchise from Hibbing. New York style pizza from the 50's.

                                          1. Unlike some I did grow up on the stuff.
                                            Renos pizza in Rosemount was where I ate as a youngster. It has been about 18 years since I ate there, but they are still there downtown off of Highway 3. They had the best pizza and anipasto salad.
                                            Carbones, is good.
                                            Broadway is pretty tastey, their white pizza is my choice there.
                                            Old Chicago has good thin crust.
                                            Our personal favorite now is Papa Tronnios pizza. There are a few around, we frequent the one in Lake City, the one closest to the cities is in Prescott, WI.
                                            If you ever head to Rochester, good square cut pizza, thin crust, old school style there are 2 of the best down there. Mr Pizza on Broadway just south of the fairgrounds. And Bilotti's on 1st st sw downtown is outstanding. TONS of cheese.

                                            1. The original Carbone's on Randolph in St. Paul (near Snelling) is what I grew up on. I never get to go there because my husband, who didn't grow up in the Twin Cities, hates old school Minnesota flatbread pizza, but I crave it all the time. The bonus is that if you eat in, it's like you're in a time warp from the 1970s. It's really trippy.

                                              1. We ate Red's pizza faithfully for about 5 years. Then about six months ago we went back to our first favorite, Grampa Tony's on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. We just like it better: wonderfully tasty crisp crust, high quality cheese, not over-sogged (?) with tomato sauce. I doubt we'll ever go back to Red's. But I almost never hear Grampa Tony's mentioned. They've been there forever.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Rowdy

                                                  Grampa Tony's is my favorite of the delivery pizzas in St. Paul. I still like Carbone's better, but, you hafta go get it yourself. ;-)


                                                  1. re: Rowdy

                                                    Oh, I forgot about Grampa Tony's - I'll certainly second that rec! nice 'n' crispy!

                                                    1. re: diesel

                                                      I'm worried about Grampa Tony's ---a Little Caesar's just moved in across the street. I hope they appeal to completely different markets so that Grampa's will continue to thrive.


                                                  2. I always thought Red's Savoy was the gold standard for pizza, but I'll have to try this Grampa Tony's place. Thanks for the tip.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Doghouse Reilly

                                                      Yeah, me too. We have Red's every week, practically. Although Grampa Tony's is farther away - Red's is almost right.in my neighborhood - we will have to try. Does it have that neighborhood pizza joint divey kind of vibe though? This is important to me!

                                                      1. re: turtlebella

                                                        You mean naugahyde seats and walls full of publicity portraits autographed by celebrities, some of which you never knew or had even forgotten that you'd forgotten?

                                                        You betcha!

                                                        Just so you know -- Grampa Tony's believes that there is no such thing as too much cheese.

                                                        1. re: KTFoley

                                                          Yeah! And staff that call you darlin' but still manage to have a lot of attitude.

                                                          I don't believe in too much cheese either. So me and Grampa Tony's may be in for a love affair!!!

                                                    2. Mama's on Rice street, feels like you're in Brooklyn (well, a St. Paul type of Brooklyn; w/pizza cut in squares and pineapple canadian bacon pizza..)

                                                      1. Don't forget totinos on Central in Mpls--along with Vescios definately the progenitor of Pizza in the twins. My dad started going there in the 50's, and Jim Totino sold his name to Pillsbury for their friz pizza line.

                                                        Made him a rich man, but besmirched his name in a way, because their in-house pizza is decent and having attached to frozen pizza was a diservice to a master old-skool restauranteur.

                                                        For years the place had a handy pronunciation guide to the word "pizza" on their menu.

                                                        Actually, its really quite good pizza of its ilk! Perhaps not super-authentic, but authentic in an italo-american way, and tasty!

                                                        1. I like Carbone's, but it's way too greasy to eat often. I love the texture of the crust right underneath the cheese - how it gets ripply and doughy. Yum. A close second would be The Little Oven (used to be called The Italian Oven) on White Bear Ave. They have delicious pizza, and it's a pretty cute restaurant.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: ShinyCake

                                                            I like the Little Oven, in a divey, red sauce kind of way. It's good comfort food. But, I've never had their pizza. Must try!


                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              Does the Little Oven still have the 2 for 1 take away pizza special?

                                                          2. Hot City on west 7th really excellent for this type of pizza or Checkerboard Pizza in West St Paul and the Midway. St Paul excels at this type of Pizza.

                                                            1. I too, like the Little Oven and 2nd the poster who recommended Mama's Pizza on Rice Street. It's literally down the street from me, and I make it a point to visit as much as I can, especially with friends. It's a cozy place to eat, service is very personable and it's smoke-free.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: beej

                                                                All of St. Paul is smoke-free, even the bars! I've got to get back over to the Little Oven one of these days. They have this cheesy hotdish--can't remember the name, alas--that is glorious comfort food.


                                                                1. re: beej

                                                                  You might want to call before visiting Mama's on Rice Street. They had a flood a while back and had to close down for repairs. I'm not sure if the've opened up again.

                                                                2. I'm not sure if this is what you all are talking about, but I just had a square piece of
                                                                  delicious pizza at the new Cafe DiNapoli in the skyway at 6th & Marquette. It flashed
                                                                  me back to my upstate NY childhood where there were little grocery stores that sold
                                                                  this stuff- lots of Italians in that area.

                                                                  1. I haven't lived in Minnesota in ages, but I had to post becuase this thread brought back so many memories! When I was little, we lived in a little town called Owatonna (about an hour outside Minneapolis) and used to eat downtown at a place called King Tut's Pizza. They cut their super-thin pizza into little diamonds and I thought it was awesome when I was a kid...I'm sure the place doesn't still exist and if it did it wouldn't be what I'd call great pizza now, but in my memory it's the best!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: EmJayBe

                                                                      Nope-its undergone a few transformations since then.I think its a tattoo parlor now.The best pizza in Owatonna is at the Rose Street Cafe,which is above the Blast (soft serve ice cream at half the price of Dairy Queen)

                                                                    2. l grew up in Chicago eating pizza at the Royal Chessman, square cut of course. In Mpls., I really like Chris & Rob's (formerly Joey D's) thin crust on 42nd Street.


                                                                      1. Should anyone pass by Northfield, stop at Basil's or Bill's (really hope both are still there...!). They're both just off of Hwy 3. They had the best flatbread pizza cut into squares...ever.