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Jan 6, 2010 07:50 PM

Is there really GOOD pizza in MSP???

I am from NJ and living here I crave good pizza. Punch comes very close. Any ideas??? Good thin crispy pizza with a clean tomato sauce and cheese. Is that so wrong to ask for??? Crispy bottom pizza that is thin and tasty???? wah wah wah.....

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  1. If you tell us what Punch lacks...????

    6 Replies
    1. re: MplsM ary

      Well, I'm doin' it. Gettin' me a Red's Savoy Pizza later. Anchovy, onion and 'shroom.

      I cruised The 'Net and read lots of reviews today. It really sounds like Imo's, in St. Louis, down to the grease and square pieces. Doubt Red's uses Provel cheese, but... It still may work. Everything I read made me drool.

      Lettuce hope after almost 30 years the ancient tastebuds' memory has dimmed a bit and Red's 'za works. I'm so tired of going pizza-less.

      1. re: green56

        It is not Imo's. However...

        I am happy. Very happy and for all intents and purposes have found my pizza home. Red's is prolly as close as I'll get to Imo's here.

        The sauce is the best I've had outside St. Louis; definitely the best I've had here in the TC's. Very flavorful with a taste of paste vs. a runny sauce taste. And NO sugar flavor!! Yippy-skippy!!! And oregano flavor!!! Really really good. And not runny so the crust didn't get soggy. Nice thick, flavorful goopy sauce that stuck to the crust and the add-ons stuck to it. I'm really impressed.

        Cheese to die for. Tons. Gobs. Heaps. And the add-ons were underneath the cheese as is a requirement for my pizza. It wasn't Provel, but it will work for me. Ittiz gonna work just fine, thankyouverymuch. Grease on the top o' the 'za, grease soaking into the cardboard. Yup. Good stuff.

        Crust could have been just a wee bit more crackery, but again this pizza is gonna work just fine. And loads and loads and LOADS of anchovies, onions and 'shrooms. So far, with less than 1/2 eaten there's been an anchovie in every bite. How do they make money on these things?

        I am happy. Really really happy. This is the closetest yet I've come to the pizza I grew up with and it's damn close. I will be getting pizzas frequently now. I really like this pizza and in my mind Red's is the best pizza in the TC's. (Burp)

        1. re: green56

          Glad you liked it. I get some Red's Savoy pizza every now and again when I need a greasy, goopy pizza fix. And it fits the bill. Did you eat in or take out? I recommend eating at the original Red's location on 7th. The charmingly surly waitresses are great, and the vibe is old St. Paul all the way....

          1. re: mtullius

            There is some inconsistency with Red Savoy. I much prefer the pizza quality from the Newport location, but the vibe in STP is great.

            1. re: mtullius

              I got take-out form the o-rig-a-nul. Not only is it close to me but I'd read about inconsistancies between locations.

              I'm not liking it so much leftover. The closer I get to the center and with reheating, the doughier the crust gets.

              If I could somehow get Red's to thin the crust more with less dough and rolling (or whatever) thinner, pre cooking crust and then adding goodies + Provel cheese, I think I'd have Imo's.

              What's with the snooty host staff? I talked to and dealt with a young woman about 20 years my jr that was upbeat, talkitive, positive about their product, nice to me and included the guy behind me in the conver, who was also waiting for a to-go... Seemes he somes at least weekly for "the best pizza in Saint Paul." She kept calling me "Honey," and I wanted to laugh as it's what I should have been calling her! She was most gracious and nice and when bringing my pizza to me - I had to wait 5 mins as I was early - she bid me a nice evening and mentioned again that she felt I would love their pizza. I enjoyed the service I rec'd and felt at home and valued.

              I am really impressed with the sauce. I had read about it as "spicey" but found it more flavorful than "spicey." Great tomato taste, not sweet and runny, but thick (pureed tommy-toes?) and laced with the perfect hint of oregano - not overwelming but definately there to tease.

              My biggest gripes - and they're more whines, wants, gimmies and regrets - that will not keep me from returning - are the crust and lack of the Provel cheese. A good marriage of fabulous tomato sauce with plenty of add-ons you can TASTE in each bite really go a long way to help [in my mind] other lackings. And truly, it's not their fault I carry this tourch for Imo's, it's my prob.

              Overall, I'm pretty pumped. Ittiz *the closest* I've come yet. If I can get them to work with me in off hours, provided I can get my hands on some Provel... I think I'll have my Imo's.

              Definately my first and fav choice for pizza in STP. I yust gotta whip them into shape! LOL!!!

              1. re: green56

                hate to say it, but i don't think you'll have any luck whatsoever getting provel tm on pizza in msp. you're in the dairyland now, so "cheese product" will be eschewed for real, actual cheese 'round these parts. ;-P

      2. Hi vinman,

        I am also from NJ, and I have tried to seek out NJ-style pizza wherever I've lived. Here in the Twin Cities, there aren't too many places which could pass for NJ pizza, but there are a few. The closest that I have found is at Broders deli in SW Minneapolis. I believe the family is originally from NJ, and they produce NJ/NY-style thin crust similar to what you would find over there.

        Another good option is Mesa Pizza in Dinkytown. Their plain (cheese) pie is good, and also could easily pass for NJ pizza if you ignore all of their novelty pizzas. They are known for their novelty flavors -- which incidentally, I love -- but their cheese pie is often overlooked as a good approximation of NJ pizza.

        Finally, you should try Black Sheep Pizza in the warehouse district. It is not exactly like most NJ places, but actually is more similar to places like Lombardi's in Little Italy; they are the only coal-fired oven in the Twin Cities.

        Other folks might suggest Cossetta's, Hiawatha Pizza Halal, Soho Cafe, Pizza Nea, etc. -- but those are not quite right for the style you seek.

        You might also find this blog useful -- pictures of most of the pizzas in the Twin Cities:

        For reference -- my gold standard in NJ is probably Pizza Town USA on Rt. 46.

        3 Replies
        1. re: chrismpls

          I will chime in here if I may.......I lived in Philly prior to coming here, and upstate NY. Broder's is one of my favorites. I don't like Punch all that much due to the soggy crust...seems like the oven is so hot that they can't really cook the dough thoroughly or they would burn it. And they do blister it some. Lots of people love it, I don't. But that is Neapolitan, not NJ style.

          Soho, Hiawatha , Cossetta etc seem to me to be 'NYC'-style pizza, which is ok but has never been my favorite, too much cheese, too greasy, something, I can't exactly explain.
          I love the dryness and crunch of Broder's crust , the lack of greasy cheese overload, the good red sauce not overloaded on there either, the high quality cheese. They are definitely using higher quality ingredients there as compared to many of the NYC style places that have been mentioned, and it shows.

          1. re: faith

            Hiawatha is not true NYC style pizza in the style of thin crust and being coal oven or brick oven fired. Also the place is pretty lame as far as the offerings are concerned i.e. 1-2 stale cheese pies sitting there and then he adds the toppings as you order.

          2. re: chrismpls

            Black Sheep is great....but I can't speak from personal experience as to how it compares to NY/NJ pizza.

          3. A second or third vote here for Broder's in southwest Minneapolis. Consistently good NY-style pizza. I know they have a Greek pizza, prosciutto & arugula pizza, and some other "specialties," but I haven't found much reason to go beyond the classic cheese, pepperoni or sausage pizza. Too many complex toppings can destroy the beautiful simplicity of a good slice...

            One note of caution on Broder's: they have plenty of salads to accompany your pizza, and sometimes those salads are good. Just as often, they've been kind of un-fresh, like they've been in the deli case or the fridge too long. If you're looking for a side, I'd suggest assembling your own salad to go with the pizza.

            1. If you don't like Punch, Black Sheep is as close as you'll get, though their crust is chewier than most NY/Connecticut pizza. That is if good = that style (a premise I don't accept).

              I am comparing these primarily to John's, Grimaldi's, Di Fara, and Lombardi's. As there are no bagels here like the ones in NYC, so too is there no pizza that is really like that in NYC. If you want that...go to NYC. We also don't have pizza like the pizza in Rome here or beignets like the ones in New Orleans, or Texas brisket or NC get the idea.

              1. To be clear, your question is actually "is there good NJ style pizza in MSP?" The answer to whether there is good pizza would be yes. I'd also suggest you try what has been called MN style pizza (thin crust, lots of chese, cut into squares) at places such as Pizza Magic or Stadium Pizza.

                Personally, I have limited knowledge of NJ pizza, other than a a pie I ate in Newark which resembled a basic NY style pizza.

                I think that Psycho Suzies has the best local pizza, followed by Pizza Nea and Black Sheep. This topic has been covered ad nauseum in other posts, however, so I won't go on.

                2 Replies
                1. re: KyleThomas

                  If you are referring to La Famiglia in Newark Airport, that is not a good representation of NJ pizza. Crust too thick and bready, way too oily.

                  vinman will probably not like MN-style (crispy square-cut) if he is looking for NJ style. I'm not judging that style, just saying he will probably be unhappy with the result.

                  1. re: KyleThomas

                    Yup, KyleThomas. Psycho Suzie's has some good pizza! Thanks for reminding me.