HOME > Chowhound > Minneapolis-St. Paul >

Discussion

single best pizza in MSP/ No Time To Research Chow Archives

  • m
  • MarkG Nov 24, 2010 02:34 PM

your nominations please for thin crust pies

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Red's Savoy on West Seventh in St. Paul

    2 Replies
    1. re: AmyMo

      Wonderful toppings, and a great thin crust.

      Also Punch Pizza, various sites.

      -----
      Punch Pizza
      3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

      Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza
      600 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

      1. re: AmyMo

        The food at Reds is incredible. Incredibly bad. My in-laws love it. But its truly awful.

      2. black sheep is the only fair pizza i have found in MSP

        1. Bar Pizza (Robust Sauce + Tons o' toppings) = Red's Savoy on W. 7th (This specific location is key)
          NY Style = Cossetta's
          Coal Fired = Black Sheep

          Personally, I don't like Punch due to the fact that the 2-3" surrounding the dead center of every pizza I've ever had becomes soggy within 30 seconds of the pizza leaving the oven. Unacceptable imo.

          4 Replies
          1. re: NugarifiK

            I've had the same issue with Punch. You pick up a slice and flops like a wet piece of paper.

            Black Sheep or Cossetta's would be my choice.

            1. re: NugarifiK

              Punch is my favorite but it has gotten a bit wet.

              1. re: lstereo

                They use a lot of olive oil when they make it. They literally drizzle it all over. The trick is to ask for less/light olive oil and you will be much happier.

                1. re: erics667

                  Right, that's their style. You can also ask for your pizza with added olive oil, to make it even soggier. That's how I usually order a Punch pizza - either Neo style or DOC, either way there's extra olive oil.

            2. These pizza ratings always ebb and flow with me. Pizza Luce used to be good, but now it's not.

              Leaning Tower has gained some ground with me lately for thin crust.

              Pizza Nea, damn good now.

              -----
              Pizza Nea
              1221 W Lake St # 106, Minneapolis, MN

              1. Black Sheep and its not even close.

                1. Black Sheep.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Foureyes137

                    good little pizza joints:
                    dino's pizza (thompson and hamline)
                    grampa tony's (snelling avenue)
                    sunshine pizza (selby near snelling)

                    1. re: zfwp

                      Broder's Deli.

                      1. re: zfwp

                        Dino's is at Thomas (not Thompson) and Hamline... it's cash only and eccentric hours, but delicious pizza! Definitely the best place that will deliver in my neighborhood. Don't let the "gourmet" in the name scare you off.

                        Still, I wouldn't call it the best pizza in town. Punch is my absolute favorite, but I haven't tried Black Sheep yet.

                        -----
                        Dino's Gourmet Pizza
                        1336 Thomas Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                        1. re: KristinT013

                          i never said Dino's was the best. i do not play that best game when i can have 10 or 15 in my top 5....

                    2. I'd call it a tie between Black Sheep and Punch Pizza. Both do an excellent job, and I'm skeptical regarding the Punch backlash here, but to each, their own.

                      If you are looking outside the thin crust zone, give Papa's a shot. Their crust has a great taste, and their pizza is well balanced.

                      -----
                      Punch Pizza
                      3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: kevin47

                        I'm a Punch pizza fan since I prefer the Neapolitan wood-fired pizza incorporating quality ingredients of 00 flour, di Bufala mozzarella and San Marzano tomato sauce. Punch can hold its own compared to the Rome and Naples pizzerias I sampled last month. From what I can tell from web sites Pizza Nea and Mozza Mia (new pizzeria) may have similar pizzas. I haven't tried them yet. I choose to concentrate and seek out this style of pizza in my travels around the country. You have to start somewhere. This is what I make at home mostly and does give you a comparative basis back to Italy.

                        There are so many different American regional style pizzas that would make it impossible to arrive at a consensus. However, the chain pizza restaurants and frozen pizzas have probably jaded most taste buds and preferences. MSPD may be right. Before we are finished we should hear from every joint in town. So, other than my preference mentioned, I find the closest pizzeria to my home, Joey Nova's in Tonka Bay, to be a decent east coast style pizza worth trying. They have a second shop in Golden Valley.

                        -----
                        Pizza Nea
                        1221 W Lake St # 106, Minneapolis, MN

                        Joey Nova's
                        5655 Manitou Rd, Excelsior, MN 55331

                        1. re: Davydd

                          Thanks Davydd, but my comment got deleted. I just think it's absurd to put up a post asking what the best pizza is in MSP, even if you narrow down to "thin crust" which could still mean almost anything.

                          Interestingly, back in 2004, a fellow named "Mark" with the last initial "G" put up a similar question. Lest the Chowhond mods think I'm not a helpful sort (even in response to terrible questions), here is my post from then (with minor edits) which, 6 years later, is almost precisely reflective of my current opinion, with the addition of Black Sheep, which I like a lot:

                          The "best pizza" and "best burger" discussions always remind me of the Westminster dog show (or maybe the movie "Best in Show"). How do you figure that old, fat, scrotum-fondling, gravelly British-accented, polyester wearing chick can actually pick ONE dog as superior over all of those other fine bags of fleas? Amazing.

                          Anyway, I haven't fondled a dog's junk lately, but I have eaten a lot of pizza. Here are my nominations:

                          Punch, St. Paul location. (Neapolitan breed) Whether or not you like this kind of pizza, you can't argue they use the most fresh, high-quality ingredients in town. It HAS to be considered at the top of the pizza heap judged on CULINARY MERIT alone (absent consideration to the type of pizza, people's preferences, backgrounds, etc).

                          I like the break from "kitchen sink" pizzas -- they have enough combinations of 2 or 3 toppings to satisfy everyone, including buffalo mozzerella which makes the slice almost silky. I could see criticizing the crust, as it varies from charred black in spots, and can be slightly mushy in the middle by the time you get to the last slick. But I like to sop up that oily juice with the last piece of crust.

                          In the neapolitan category, the pizzas at Buon Giorno in Lilydale would be the runners-up, but just don't have the combination of flavors and "je ne sais quoi" or whatever that Punch has perfected. (Here is where I add Black Sheep and also the pizzas at the D'Amico cafe in Golden Valley, MN).

                          In the square-cut, cracker-crust category, I'm a loyal devotee of Brianno's in Eagan. At every opportunity, I try and send people to this little-known (not so much now that it's 2010) Italian market/deli just off Cedar Ave at Cliff Road. I have a lot of "see, I told you so" credibility with my south of the river neighbors. All addicts now. People from here to the Atlantic Ocean rave about Zaffiro's (Milwaukee) in this category. Brianno's is better. Fresh, quality ingredients, made as you watch. Only drawbacks: take out only, no credit cards accepted and closed on Mondays.

                          The Pizza Factory on Carmen Ave in Inver Grove Heights is second place in this category. "The What Where???" The Pizza Factory. From 494, take the 5th/7th exit, go south on 5th. When you see the McDonalds, look to your left. Yes...that scuzzy strip mall that should have been demolished in the 70s. Back in the corner there...yes....see it? The Pizza Factory. The second best ultra-thin, square-cut pizza in MSP. This is where I go for the "kitchen sink". It weighs a ton and the leftovers last longer than a 30-pound Thanksgiving turkey. (Note from 2010: It's now Old World Pizza but I still recommend the Top-of-the-Line).

                          For good, old school pizza, Red's Savoy. This is one of those "sum is far greater than the individual parts" foods. Frankly, I sometimes start wondering why I (and a lot of people) love it so much. Then I eat one, think, "darn that's good" and repeat the cycle. I'll never stop thinking that some day a car won't stop as they come up 52 and level the place, killing everyone inside. But if they already started their pizza, at least they'll die satisfied.

                          I also really like Cossetta's in the triangular, bubble pocked, thin crust category. When only ordering by the slice, their advantage is the constant line of customers snaked all around the store. The pizza doesn't sit around very long. Size is good too -- you could build a small, single-family home on a slice. (Add Fat Lorenzos, Hiawatha Pizza, and Joey Nova's in Plymouth here for 2010).

                          Pizza Luce certainly deserves mention somewhere here.

                          And at risk of ending this super-long post with a huge shot to my own credibility, I'll say that I've actually had a couple good flat crust, rectangular pizzas at...(brace yourself)...Buca. Hey, I just call 'em as I see them. Nobody should go there just to get a pizza, but some of their "daily specials" end up really tasty. If you happen to be eating there, it's a viable option.

                          -----
                          Fat Lorenzos
                          5600 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55417

                          Joey Nova's
                          5655 Manitou Rd, Excelsior, MN 55331

                          Old World Pizza
                          5816 Blaine Ave, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

                          Brianno's
                          2280 Cliff Rd, Saint Paul, MN 55122

                          1. re: MSPD

                            I'd never be the first to admit it, but I also like Buca's pizza. I don't let them cut it into rectangles though...if there is a benefit to cutting a pizza into squares, I haven't found it.

                            And at the risk of sounding like a tool; I've never had any pizza in the US that is like Roman pizza. Not that it isn't as good (actually, it's frequently better), it's just that pizza in Rome is like matzopizza...at least at places like Da Baffetto.

                            1. re: MSPD

                              haha agree w the eyeroll-- what do they mean, "thin crust" --neapolitan, east coast style, or chicago/midwest cracker crust? it's a question that doesn't have one simple answer.

                              i actually think mesa pizza (basic pepperoni and cheese flavors) does a decent east coast, foldable slice.

                              for midwestern square cut, gotta put in a word for mama's in st. paul.

                              i actually found myself at a buca w my mom (she had a coupon, *sigh*) in the last year, and now i wish i'd known at the time that the pizza was decent. the pasta i had was unfit to feed to swine. :(

                              1. re: MSPD

                                Thanks for the tip on Brianno's, my father has been looking for the cracker thin crust forever...

                                I am astonished that no one has mentioned Lake Harriet Pizza in this whole thread, that I can see, anyways. I would rather drive 20 mins one way and then another 20 back to get this pizza than any other in the Twin Cities.

                                -----
                                Lake Harriet Pizza
                                5009 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

                                Brianno's
                                2280 Cliff Rd, Saint Paul, MN 55122

                                1. re: isfahani

                                  What is Lake Harriet Pizza like? Thin or thicker crust? What is the sauce like?
                                  Curious.

                                  -----
                                  Lake Harriet Pizza
                                  5009 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

                                  1. re: karykat

                                    Thicker crust, sauce is tomato-ey and slightly spicy, and there's a good layer of it.
                                    Cheese that doesn't leave that icky layer of oil on top and they DO NOT skimp on the toppings. It's a thick, hearty, square cut pizza.

                              2. re: Davydd

                                I'd like to point out that Pizza Nea does NOT use a real wood-fired Neapolitan style pizza oven. This explains, for me, why their pizza is not in the same category as Punch. One may like it better, if that is where one's preferences lie, but it is not authentic Neapolitan.

                                -----
                                Pizza Nea
                                1221 W Lake St # 106, Minneapolis, MN

                                1. re: mtullius

                                  Just a bit more clarification: Nea uses a gas-fed "coal" oven like Black Sheep I believe (Black Sheep also does not use wood, but rather coal-fired like John's, Grimaldi's and Lombardi's in New York...though it is a new-style oven, unlike those at the NYC places).

                            2. I think Dara wrote the definitive answer to this question last year with her Pizza Personality Type Indicator.

                              http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media...

                              My personal favorite is also Punch.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Diana_mn

                                I posted this link earlier, but my post was deleted. No idea why. But I agree - there's no one "best" pizza for everyone.

                                Me, I'm a Punch pizza fan (original location only - it's like Dara knows me!), but I wouldn't call this a thin crust pizza. There's a lot of "puff" at the edges. But here's a tip: If you don't like a "floppy" crust, order a pizza that's low in liquid toppings, and definitely don't get the extra olive oil. I've been known to ask for a "well done" pizza, too (I love the charred bits). Or I'll get a pizza to go and crisp it up in my oven when I get home.

                                For a really thin crust, my favorite is the Black Dog Coffee House. Their pizza is unexpectedly wonderful, and has a very thin - but not cracker-thin - crust. Nom nom nom!

                                Anne

                                -----
                                Black Dog Restaurant
                                308 Prince St Ste 100, Saint Paul, MN 55101

                              2. For overall best pizza, I'd agree with those who say Black Sheep. For the Midwestern thin crust/cut-in-squares style, my personal favorite is Dulono's on Lake and Garfield.

                                Has anyone been to Pizzeria Lola yet (on 56th and Xerxes)? I'm not going to be able to go for a while but have been monitoring their progress with interest. Any good?

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: LiaM

                                  My husband and I tried Pizzeria Lola last week...certainly worth it and, in our minds a steady contender for best pizza in the TC.

                                  1. re: LiaM

                                    Yes, I was going to add Lola to the mix. It's Punch-like in style, but not as wet. I can register what some folks find as a complaint about Punch Pizza - the crust is on the wet side. But to be honest, sometimes I really like that. Sometimes at Punch I get it DOC style, with extra olive oil, then it's really wet (I think that's what the extra add-on style is called...). Haven't been to Mozza Mia yet, and it'll probably be a while before I do. I don't seem to like Parasol restaurants very much. And given the pizza options now available in the TC, Mozza will be at the bottom of my "to try" list.

                                    Black Sheep still reigns supreme for me. In second would be Pizza Biga, the joint associated with Turtle Bread Co on Chicago. But hey, that's only about 2 miles from my house, so when in the mood for pizza and I don't feel like going to Washington Ave and waiting an hour, Biga is it. Lola was excellent, I'll be going back there (their seasonal with squash was fantastic). Punch is good, I still go there occasionally, but only the one in Highland. When in the NE and hungry for pizza, I go to Nea - again, not as good as Black Sheep, but still solid.

                                    In the "New York Style" category, I like Broders, Buon Giorno (Lilydale), and my favorite in that category - Slice of New York on Nicollet (I think that's what it's called). There's also a really good pizza joint, Hiawatha Halal Pizza, 27th and Minnehaha - ordering can be a bit of a gamble, but the guy working in there is really nice, and they make good pizza.

                                    I live about 4 blocks from Fat Lorenzo's, and haven't gone there in over 2 years. Also haven't had Cossetta's in over 2 years. I got tired of the over-the-top cheese. That's not NYC style pizza - way too thick and doughy a crust, too much cheese, too much sauce. Eating one slice of pizza shouldn't make you feel like you just ate a complete meal, and need a walk around Nokomis before needing to get shoehorned into your giant SUV.

                                    Pizza Luce is OK - at 2AM on the way home from a bar. Any other time, there's better options out there.

                                    Cracker crust square cut? Personally, not for me. Honestly, I don't want to spend the calories on it. It's like being given McDonald's as a choice for a hamburger. No thanks, I'll eat my emergency Clif Bar and hold out for something else. But hey, I'm not from around here, I didn't grow up with tiny square cut pizza pieces, and I just don't get it.

                                    Red Savoy's - interesting.....I'd had it before as take out a couple times, and hated it. Couldn't understand why folks raved about it. I'd shutter when folks wanted to do a delivery lunch, and Red Savoy's would come up as an option. Again - I'll take my Clif Bar or the dried apricots in my drawer. Then I went there one afternoon with work colleagues, and it was a blast. The atmosphere really made it. Maybe it helped that it's so dark in there, you can't really see what you're eating, and the fish tank and conversation are keeping your mind off the quality of the pizza. But eat-in, yeah, I'd go back - with a bunch of people.

                                    But I still don't get the tiny square cut pieces....

                                    -----
                                    Fat Lorenzos
                                    5600 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55417

                                    Punch Pizza
                                    3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

                                    Turtle Bread Co
                                    120 S 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402

                                    Pizza Biga
                                    4762 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                                    1. re: foreverhungry

                                      great post foreverh, I'm suddenly recalling a good pizza I had at Arezzo in Edina....just to add one more to the mix... I'd love to hear a more detailed review of Lola from folks who have been there...

                                      1. re: faith

                                        i liked arezzo's last year but the toppings they offer are minimal.

                                        1. re: faith

                                          Lola:

                                          Ms. FH and I went on the Friday night of their opening week - they opened on a Tuesday, I believe. Got there around 5:45 or 6, place was packed, getting more so. We sat at the bar, which offers the full menu and a great view of their gorgeous Panyol wood oven.

                                          Drinks - good beer list - Surly and a few others. Nice wine list too - the server working the bar didn't know much about the wines, but it was their opening week, so that's forgivable. Won't be in a couple of weeks, though. While we waited, one of the head pizza makers pulled out a pizza and cut it into slices, and started handing it out to the folks waiting at the bar, and then passing out slices to the folks standing behind us that were waiting for seats. A very nice gesture. I don't think anyone was waiting too long - we certainly didn't need a slice, and passed ours on - but it was a very nice gesture on their part.

                                          For a starter, we shared the Roasted cauliflower with Calabrian chili, which was very good. Large portion, beautifully roasted cauliflower, flecked with red pepper pieces that delivered just the right amount of heat. Great start.

                                          Ms. FH ordered the Iowan (La Quercia Prosciutto, mozzarella, ricotta, olive oil, roasted garlic & arugula), and I had the Breakfast (La Quercia Guanciale, pecorino, cream, green onion, pepper & soft egg). Both were fantastic. My egg was perfectly cooked - white was done, yolk was runny, and I'm guessing that timing is tricky in a 700F+ oven, where seconds matter.

                                          Overall, it was an excellent experience. The crowd was what you'd expect from that SW MPLS neighborhood - 90% of folks dining had at least one kid with them. That meant space was tight, lots of tables for 4 had 2 adults and 2 little kids. But hey, you can't blame Lola for appealing to their neighborhood. I'm hoping that doesn't hurt their profit margin though, when a good 25% of their seats are taken up by non-consumers.

                                          For an opening week and getting slammed hard, they did a very good job. There's more on the menu that would keep me coming back. I like the idea of a seasonal, and the taste we had of their seasonal was excellent. I might wait for the dust to settle a bit, and maybe avoid Friday night. I wouldn't wait an hour for Lola - for that kind of wait, I might as well go to Black Sheep. But for me, it's easily worth a 30 minute wait, especially if I can get a Surly in my hands.

                                          1. re: foreverhungry

                                            thanks fh, could you describe the pizza crust for us? (at lola)

                                            1. re: faith

                                              Approaching Black Sheep's - but not quite there. It's in the Black Sheep / Punch/ Nea /Biga vein. Thin, let's you know it's there, but certainly doesn't get in the way or steal the show from the main ingredients. Burntish around the edges - in a good way. When you eat a piece of crust alone, it has good flavor with a little chew.

                                        2. re: foreverhungry

                                          Hiawatha Halal Pizza, 27th and Minnehaha is not worth the trek. Plastic, hole in the wall joint with cold, stale slices.

                                          1. re: foreverhungry

                                            FH: Try Lorenzo's again. I would like to know your thoughts. I have come to enjoy a slice there old school Luce style but less crust!

                                        3. Lola looks like it's a punch/nea style pizza catered for a sit-down place.

                                          But I really like the story behind Lola though. I'll have to check it out just for this:

                                          "A Korean immigrant, inspired by the pure love of food, joy and her mother's own delicious cooking, quits her day job, opens an artisan pizza pie place and names it after her dog. There's no need to be overly patriotic here, but is there anything more American than that? Yep, sometimes dreams do come true.

                                          Welcome to Pizzeria Lola."

                                          http://www.pizzerialola.com/photos.html

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: alpa chino

                                            I'm just going to leave this here for you...
                                            http://heavytable.com/pizzeria-lola-i...

                                            Can't wait to give this place a try...

                                            1. re: WeZeL27

                                              I went on opening week, and it was very good. And while I'm not trying to be stick in the mud, because every I had at Lola was excellent, one reason that it's packed is because it's in a neighborhood that was starving for kid-friendly food, but that has some degree of sophistication. In other words, parents can get a Surly, roasted cauliflower, and a pizza with guanciale, while kids can wiggle in their seats and have a regular pizza - what kid doesn't like pizza. The night I went, at least 75% of table had kids. It's that neighborhood's version of Punch in Highland, but with admittedly more creativity, more flair, more innovation, and more of a willingness to take feedback.

                                              While Lola impressed me with their quality, what impresses me even more is that they - so far - have concocted the perfect business. They know their neighborhood, down to knowing that Surly and soft serve ice cream would be huge hits that would bring Xerxes neighborhood parents out. Give parents with 5 year old kids an opportunity to go to dinner on a night they normally wouldn't. Genius.

                                              1. re: foreverhungry

                                                not everyone likes 'burntish' crust on pizza. I am one of them. Don't like it charred, won't ever like it charred. So, that's why I don't like Punch. among other reasons including the sogginess. Lola appears not to be charring their crust. The pizzas look beautiful, I like the amount of ingredients they appear to put on, I like the ratio of sauce, cheese and toppings they are using. Also if I'm going to eat pizza I want the crust to be more than a thin cracker bottom, I want some chewiness and body in the crust, not overwhelming the rest as in deep-dish (my opinion) but as a part of the experience of chewing. Wish they had a gluten free option at Lola's though, so for now I'm just looking and commenting.

                                                1. re: faith

                                                  i am all for the trend of restaurants offering dietary options for everybody, but fwiw i don't think it's reasonable to expect a gf pizza-pie option at a pizzeria. i have worked in a pizzeria, and anytime you are mixing massive quantities of dough and hand-tossing the crusts, there is a thin layer of flour (wheat flour) over everything in the kitchen and all over the inside of the oven, same as a regular bread bakery. i think the best you can hope for in a pizzeria that makes/forms its own dough (does it the right way) is a good gf salad or something, anything else can be reasonably expected to be heavily contaminated with wheat flour.

                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                    Agreed 100%.

                                                    Also, re: the charred crust. To my eyes (and I haven't eaten at Lola yet) the pizzas on the Heavy Table article and in their Flickr page have the same char that all the other VPN places and similar style have.

                                                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/katknits...

                                                    1. re: MSPD

                                                      re: the charred crust, I base my opinion on the photos in the heavy table writeup:

                                                      http://heavytable.com/pizzeria-lola-i...

                                                      they don't look very charred. I don't mind if there is a bit on the very outer rim, it's when the whole surface looks like meteors hit and created char-bubbles in many places. and then the underside is part of the equation too, I don't want it to taste burnt.

                                                      A number of pizza places are offering gluten-free crusts now, charging extra. They are often using frozen ones they purchase. This wouldn't work for super-allergic types who can't eat a molecule of gluten as soup kitten points out. I am more tolerant but like to avoid wheat whenever possible. I had a gf pizza at zpizza in Roseville and thought the crust was pretty good. No, not the same as a wheat crust. But I would eat more pizza if that was an option.

                                              2. re: WeZeL27

                                                Thanks. I'll be checking it out. I just find it amazing that an indian guy (me) can enjoy an italian delicacy made by a korean woman.....in the United States. Amazing world.

                                            2. The best pizzas in the Twin Cities are Cossetta's and Red's Savoy

                                              19 Replies
                                              1. re: TwinCitiesRestrntBlg

                                                Blech. I don't know how anyone can stomach Red's Savoy unless they're plastered. And Cossetta's pizza gives me heartburn just looking at the greasy pool of melted cheese separating out into it's component fats and milk solids.

                                                For thin and soft pizza, it's a tossup between Nea, Punch and D'Amico & Sons. For thin and crispy, I think Tucci Bennuch in MOA is pretty good. For deep dish, Italian Pie Shoppe cannot be touched by anything currently operating in the Twin Cities. I have no opinion on Black Sheep Coal Fired because I have not tried it yet. For the style Cossetta's represents, big NY slices, I think Broder's does a much better job.

                                                I agree that Punch Pizza's are suffering from soggy-center-syndrome and they'd be better if they could solve that problem. But they have a tasty-tender crust and terrific toppings and they are faster than anyone else in the business.

                                                -----
                                                Punch Pizza
                                                3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

                                                Italian Pie Shoppe
                                                7107 42nd Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55427

                                                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                                  Hold the boat. Cossetta's does not represent NY style pizza. Anyone that thinks that isn't from the NYC area. Cossetta's (and fat lorenzo's) have too thick and doughy a crust, too much sweet sauce, and way too much cheese. Yes, in NY/NJ slices are as big as your head, but about 1/4 inch thick. The closest NY style pizza here is Slice of NY on Nicollett. Cossetta's and Fat Lorenzo's are bad Midwestern representations of NY style pizza.

                                                  Punch- their crust is wet. Get over it. That's the way it is. It's their style. You like it or you don't. Me, I like it, and the few times I go to Punch (philosophical reasons for limiting visits to Punch), I get mine with extra olive oil - wetter. Charred crust and wet in olive oil...I like it

                                                  -----
                                                  Fat Lorenzos
                                                  5600 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55417

                                                  1. re: foreverhungry

                                                    now I'm intrigued foreverhungry, what philosophical reasons limit your visits to Punch, when you like that wet greasy charred blob of dough with very high quality toppings on it?

                                                    1. re: faith

                                                      I like the soggy center of punch pizza too. Can't say why. Can't explain it. Just do.

                                                      -----
                                                      punch pizza
                                                      Saint Paul, MN, Saint Paul, MN

                                                      1. re: karykat

                                                        I also like the soggy center. I fold over the tip, fold slice lengthwise, I get a double-bite! Heaven.

                                                    2. re: foreverhungry

                                                      Slice of NY on Nicollet is not NY Style pizza. Just because they put NY in the restaurant title or the owner says he worked in NY (Hiawatha Pizza) does not make it NY Style. From all that I have read Black Sheep appears to come the closest and I've not tried it yet.

                                                      1. re: scoopG

                                                        I was born and raised in Bergen County NJ. I spent 20+ years eating pizza at Haworth Pizza and Ray's in Closter. I have a pretty good understanding of what NY style pizza is and is not. Punch / Black Sheep / Nea et al is not NY style pizza.

                                                        For a brush up on what different style pizzas are, including the difference between NY style (what I'm referring to) and Neapolitan style (what you're referring to) check out the Serious Eats blog, which has several pages dedicated to pizza.

                                                        http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                                                        Given the correct definition of what NY style pizza, there are very few good places to choose from, and in my opinion, Slice of NY is it. I'd like to find better, but I'm not sure it's available in MSP.

                                                        If we're talking Neapolitan style, Black Sheep, Punch, Nea, Biga, and new arrival Lola are all legitimate contenders. What makes it really interesting is that they are all slightly different, yet all turn out quality pies. One might not like Punch's soggy crust, but it's a legitimate style - that is, it's done purposely, it's not because they make bad pizzas.

                                                        1. re: foreverhungry

                                                          NJ does not equal NY. There are several styles of NYC pizzas. Hiawatha & NY Slice think they resemble the corner neighborhood slice joint but they are poor imitations. I've not been to Punch or Black Sheep.

                                                          1. re: scoopG

                                                            scoopG - sorry to be a bit "Punchy" (sorry, bad pun), but don't give me a geography lesson. My house was closer to GW bridge than Woodbury is to Maple Grove. I spent a lot of time eating Pizza in NYC at all variety of pizza places - Famous Ray's, Ray's Original, Famous Ray's original, etc. It point you to the Serious Eats pages that show pretty conclusively what NY style pizza is and is not, and you tell me NJ isn't NY.

                                                            There is one accepted view of what NY style pizza is - it's not Neapolitan, it's not Sicilian, it's not cracker crust, deep dish, or anything else. It's big slices, soft, crust, foldable, with low quantity of sauce and cheese, and a slightly raised edge crust. It's most certainly not Black Sheep or Punch. Those are Neapolitan style. You can't just call pizza styles whatever you want to, any more than I can call a springer spaniel a squirrel because I think that's what it's name should be.

                                                            I've shown you my evidence for what NY style pizza is. And, once again, in the MSP area, that style is done by Slice of NY and a couple of others. Not Punch, not Fat Lorenzo's. If you think I'm wrong, prove it. And if you want further proof, actually go to Punch or Black Sheep, and ask them if they consider themselves NY style or not.

                                                            -----
                                                            Fat Lorenzos
                                                            5600 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55417

                                                            Woodbury Cafe
                                                            803 Bielenberg Dr, Saint Paul, MN 55125

                                                            1. re: foreverhungry

                                                              Here here! While I've never had Slice of NY I apparently need to and soon.

                                                              1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                heh-heh. guys, this is meant in a lighthearted way, but c'mon nobody really cares who has more east coast pizza cred-- not that many pizzerias around here do an east coast/nyc pie, let alone do it well.

                                                                i still say mesa does a perfectly fine, soft-crust foldable slice, huge 20" pie thing if you are into that style, to me it's a much better "slice" than slice of ny, & i haven't tried the others mentioned because my interest is very low--the issue just isn't that pressing, except among the east coast transplants. the fat lorenzo's/luce type pizzerias aren't attempting an nyc slice in the first place, so judging them, or a neapolitan style pizza, or the chicago-thin-crust places against that style doesn't really work, since many of the attributes of a neapolitan pizza would be considered negatives in an nyc slice, or swap out any 2 pizza styles below.

                                                                synopsis of pizza styles represented by independent pizzerias in the twin cities:

                                                                "east coast" --slice of ny/mesa
                                                                "neapolitan" --punch/nea
                                                                "midwest/chicago thin crust" --red savoy/mama's
                                                                "other/basic pizzeria" --fat lorenzos/luce
                                                                "chicago deep dish" --barely represented

                                                                1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                  The "Rays" pizza in any form is not NY pizza! At least not the style of NY pizza I am talking about. First you say you know NY pizza, then you say your experience is in Bergen County/NJ and now you say you it lies within the various Rays!

                                                                  And there is not "one accepted view of what NY style pizza is."

                                                              2. re: foreverhungry

                                                                ...and I am waiting for a good New Haven style pizza - like Pepe's - in the Twin Cities. Enough with upscale burger joints and comfort food - bring out a good east coast slice...

                                                                1. re: PhilESL

                                                                  As someone else pointed out (Scoopg?), there aren't many (and no good) slice joints in the Twin Cities, and I don't think that's going to change for a while. Unfortunately, MPLS and STP aren't set up for slice joints. Very good by-the-slice needs high turnover, which means lots of foot traffic. There are very few areas in the TC that have 6 days of reliable foot traffic.

                                                                  Saint Paul is a non-starter.

                                                                  In Minneapolis, Nicollet would be a possibility. But one killer is the skyway culture - skyways might be great for the folks that work in the buildings connected by them, but anything in skyways is A) virtually ignored by folks on the street, and B) closed on weekends.

                                                                  I'd love to see more east coast style pizza here, but I just don't think it's going to happen. Cracker crust, bar style pizza is very popular, and the high turnover just isn't there.

                                                                  Kinda like cheesesteaks.....sniff.....

                                                              3. re: scoopG

                                                                If you're talking NJ pizza, then the original epicenter was Newark. Of course almost all of those places are 40 years gone and none of the MSP pizzas are much like the old style NJ ones. There are still many great places to get pizza in NJ, and fair variety of styles. Of the top pizzas in MSP, Black Sheep fits very well into that school of pizza. Many of the other New York style pizzas mentioned in this thread do not have good dough. Without a good crust, it's not possible to have a great pizza.

                                                              4. re: foreverhungry

                                                                I looked at the Serious Eats link on different styles of pizza. A fun site.

                                                                Could part of the confusion about NY pizza stem from the fact that there's more than one kind of pizza coming from there? I know that you are talking about what Serious Eats calls NY pizza. But that site also notes NY-Neopolitan (which looks like Black Sheep) and Chicago thin crust style, which Serious Eats says is served in NY bars and taverns.

                                                                So you can eat a lot of pizza in NY and NJ and have really different experiences. Right?

                                                                1. re: karykat

                                                                  Yes, but same for MSP: you can get Neapolitan, NY style, deep dish, cracker crust, and a few other "styles". But because MSP serves Neapolitan at various places doesn't mean it can be called Minneapolis style. There's tons of different styles of pizza served in NY/NJ, but the different styles still have their specific names. Neapolitan doesn't get called NY style because it's served in NYC. If we followed that convention, then is New England Clam Chowder served in Philly called Philadelphia clam chowder?

                                                                  1. re: karykat

                                                                    Exactly! While it is entirely possible for Jersey folks ("the bridge and tunnel crowd") to come into NYC for pizza, there is no need for a New Yorker to travel to New Jersey!
                                                                    Frank Bruni, the former NY Times food critic identified three types of NYC pies: Neapolitan, Roman (thin, cracker-like crusts) and Sicilian (deeper, not deep dish pizzas.)

                                                                    NYC Neapolitan:
                                                                    http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/co/
                                                                    Keste photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/slice/33...

                                                                    NYC Roman:
                                                                    http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2010/05...

                                                                    NYC Sicilian:
                                                                    http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                                                                2. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                                                  Oh wow. I thought it was just me that kept getting the Punch soggy-center crust. I figured it had something to do with the toppings I ordered. But now I know it's their problem. Nea is way better anyway---solid crust.

                                                              5. I think if someone mentions Ramy's in Apple Valley (I don't like, but NY style afficianados in the south metro love it) and maybe the pizza at Kwik Trip and SA, we will have fulfilled my immediate prediction that this thread would become a meaningless meandering list of every pizza place in the Twin Cities complete with the tired hyperbole-filled slams ("greasy charred blob of dough"...yep) at everyone else's favorites. Faith, when was the last time you actually ate a Punch pizza? You've been sharing that same opinion about Punch for at least 2-3 years.

                                                                Hopefully MarkG found his delightful pizza by now.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: MSPD

                                                                  I agree with the meaningless meandering MSPD, had a Punch pizza several weeks ago, keep hoping I'll like it, you and many others have also been sharing the same opinions for years...

                                                                  1. re: faith

                                                                    Yeah, I suppose you're right. I haven't had much inspired material on here lately. Over the years, I've periodically stepped away from CH for a few weeks/months...it's a good reminder that I'm probably well overdue. Happy chowing.

                                                                2. I found a thin crust wood-fired Margherita style pizza at Pazzaluna in downtown St. Paul. It was not quite Neapolitan with a near cracker crust but it did taste good. Picture attached.

                                                                  As for Punch, it holds its own with Naples, Italy. Having just gotten back from Naples in October I went to Punch first thing to sample and compare. That's just the way they are, but I did not find the Wayzata Punch all that soggy in the middle. The soggiest middle Neapolitan pizza I've had was at 2Amys in Washington, DC, a pizzeria that seems to be consistently named the best in that city.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Pazzaluna
                                                                  360 St. Peter St, St. Paul, MN 55101

                                                                   
                                                                  1. To throw a name into the 'Chicago' style pizza, I was at Randy's Pizza in Maplewood/N. St. Paul last Friday for the lunch buffet. As I was walking in, Randy was putting out a freshly made Chicago style pie.

                                                                    Disclaimer: I will NOT claim to be any sort of expert on Chicago style, lest I get chided by the masses. I was, however, in Chicago earlier this year and ate at just about every recommended pizzeria in town: Due, Malnattis, Ginos, etc.

                                                                    For me, this pizza was most comparable to what you get at Malnati's and I thought it was a more than fair representation. Really good crust, not too doughy, good cheese and toppings, with a little chunky tomato sauce on top. Highly recommended.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Randy's Pizza
                                                                    6030 50th St N, Saint Paul, MN 55128

                                                                    1. hi pizza lovers...mmmmmmmm piiiiiiiiiiiizzza....now,i'm dyin for one...I tried punch for the first time,last summer,and was very dissapointed....all i can say is:completely flavorless,and I love thin crust pizza;thats the only kind i will eat.I find it hard to believe that no one here has mentioned CARBONE'S PIZZA.I dont know to many people that dont like carbone's.in my opinion,the sauce is the best tasting sauce i have ever had,and that really makes this pizza stand out.it's not true neapolitan pizza,but it is neapolitan style.if you have never tried it,dont be afraid.i would like to hear any comments from those who have.thanks.

                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                      1. re: elliot w

                                                                        Well, see that's the problem, the OP does not state what he deigns to be thin crust.

                                                                        1. re: elliot w

                                                                          Carbones is not bad. But it's the typical thin crust, pie-cut style that you see everywhere else. Carbones is savoy inn, pizza shack, dulonos, frankies, broadway, leaning tower---same stuff.

                                                                          BTW, has anyone been to California Pizza Kitchen. I guess there's one in Edina. I've only had their frozen stuff from the store. That's pretty thin.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          California Pizza Kitchen
                                                                          854 Rosedale Ctr, Saint Paul, MN 55113

                                                                          1. re: alpa chino

                                                                            Yeah, I used to eat at CPK pretty regularly when I lived in Los Angeles, and have been to the one in Edina many times. Their in-house stuff is leagues better than frozen, and IMO, their frozen stuff is among the best out there - but it's also more expensive.

                                                                            I had a very difficult time accepting CPK to really be pizza when I moved out to LA - coming from NJ/Philly. TO me, pizza was the (insert whatever name) style with the pie cut, floppy edge, thin layer of sauce and cheese, a little burned maybe, with the little puddle of grease, that you eat off a paper plate. Not something with guacamole or thai chicken as a topping. But once I tried it, I really liked it. It's different, to be sure, but it's good stuff. I still like to go to CPK at Southdale - it definitely pushes the bounds of what you call a pizza, and the emphasis certainly isn't on the crust, it's all about the toppings.

                                                                            I would put CPK in a category of it's own. Perhaps the only other similar player in town is Mesa pizza in Dinkytown. Also good pizza, but with toppings like Mac and Cheese pizza, meatball pizza, etc. Good stuff, just different.

                                                                            1. re: alpa chino

                                                                              are we discussing national pizza chains now? :( well, let's get it over with and bring dominos and pizza hut in on this mess, too then.

                                                                              the original question was terribly phrased. one could logically assume the op meant the local style of thin crust, which would be *exactly* the carbones/savoy/dulanos/leaning tower etc idiom. i think that msp square cut pizza could actually make for a good discussion, since it is the local style, is common here and isn't common in other cities out of the region, and there is some variation between the shops, which tend to be around making an established pizza variation for 20-30+ years. i've actually started threads about why people tend to dismiss the chicago/midwestern square-cut pizza style out of hand-- it's a mystery to me.
                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7042...

                                                                              couple of people want to interpret the question as it relates to east coast styles of pizza, but there aren't enough local contenders putting out that style for it to be a long conversation. if that was the op's question, the thread sure as heck didn't need to be this long and confusing.

                                                                              the newer neapolitan pizzerias can be called thin-crust, but 'twould be better to call them neapolitan for clarity. bringing those into the discussion changes the discussion too, unless the op meant to say neapolitan when he said thin-crust, but imo it's silly to compare punch pizza to dulano's because they are 2 completely different styles.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              punch pizza
                                                                              Saint Paul, MN, Saint Paul, MN

                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                sk - agreed with everything you said. Sorry if I confused things by bringing thin crust east coast style into the fray. I do think these pizza discussions are - if not informative - at least interesting, because you do start to see patterns in how people think.

                                                                                I put Neapolitan - the Punch, Black Sheep, Biga et al - into its own category, and try to call it Neapolitan. For whatever reason, I conflate the Midwestern cracker crust (or thin crust, or whatever its proper term is) - a la Carbone's, Savoy's, Parkway, etc. - with the east coast style thin crust - a la Slice of NY. I don't know why I do, but I tend to put them into the same grouping, and for my personal taste, I like the east coast style. Into that whole group I also put the Fat Lorenzo's and Cosetta's pizzas, because to me they seem to be like the east coast style, except more sauce a cheese (which I don't like).

                                                                                Maybe because when folks say, let's order a pizza, I don't think of BSP or Punch, but I do think of the thin crust style - ranging from Taste of NY to Carbone's to Fat Lorenzo's to Parkway. Most folks I know - and they are all native to MN - go for the Carbone's and Parkway cracker crust style. Maybe the problem (that I have) is conflating the 2 different styles.

                                                                                But if nothing else, for a food as "simple" as pizza, I think it's really interesting how such a simple question as the OP's can get interpreted in so many different ways, and go through so many different paths. Reading all the comments makes it a worthwhile conversation to me.

                                                                                Kinda not too different than some of the Thai restaurant discussions there have been on CH. But in any case, while some may have found the thread annoying, I've found it interesting.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Fat Lorenzos
                                                                                5600 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55417

                                                                                1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                  for all i know, i'm just being overly pedantic-- and the op meant "all of the above." :)

                                                                                  sure is a "kitchen sink" discussion, especially with the entrance of CPK, which i can't stop giggling about now. i do think that the avocado at CPK is *much* fresher than at leaning tower of pizza, fwiw.

                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                    Yeah, I chuckled at CPK's entry. Though to be fair, I wouldn't take CPK out automatically because it's a chain, or put it on the same level as Domino's because it's a chain. If we were talking steaks, I think a darned good argument could be made for Capital Grille being the top steakhouse in MSP. Even if it's not #1, and while it's a chain, I don't think too many people can argue their quality. Maybe we're getting off track, but chain doesn't automatically equal bad, just like mom-and-pop doesn't automatically equal good.

                                                                                    All that being said, I would be interested to hear what folks have to say about CPK. Like I said earlier, it took a lot to get me to my first CPK, in Westwood Village, but once I had their pizza, I changed my way of thinking about pizza a little, and I still enjoy CPK today. Heck, "California style" pizza was "originated" by Wolfgang Puck, and the guy's no slouch. it might not be popular in the midwest, but it doesn't mean it's bad...

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Capital Grille
                                                                                    801 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402

                                                                            2. re: elliot w

                                                                              Not a fan of Carbone's. To me, it's the same style as Parkway, Broadway, and a lot of the other neighborhood joints that make the cracker crust pizza cut into little squares. That's a very different style than Neapolitan - which is what Punch makes. (One problem here is that people are using different or wrong terms to describe pizza styles). Not liking Punch is fine, but Punch is a very different style than Carbone's, so in a way, the two aren't truly comparable.

                                                                              I try to stay away from Carbone's. Frankly, I don't really like any of their products. But I just don't like the cracker-crust style of pizza. While ellito w finds Punch flavorless, I find Carbone's crust to be flavorless, the sauce too sweet, and the cheese too overloaded.

                                                                            3. Hey look! I know the difference between California Pizza kitchen and the ketchup-flavored cardboard joints. It's a big chain and all, but I figured it was good enough to be specialty pizza.

                                                                              I'm from deep-dish chicagoland and I think Uno's or Due's is somewhere here in the TC. Or I think it's Gino's. Either way, that's a franchise now.

                                                                              1. Yes, these pizza discussions can get wild and crazy. I think this might be the better question - and again it depends on the style of pie - but what are the destination pizza spots in the Metro area?
                                                                                How far are you willing to drive for your favorite pie? 50 minutes? 20 minutes?

                                                                                I certainly do not feel that Hiawatha nor Slice of NY are destination type spots. Even that (Broders? or Bruers?) on 50th and France I think? They are simply not doing enough high volume traffic. Unless you hit the place just as a pie is coming out of the oven, you might get lucky. Otherwise these pies are sitting around getting lonely and cold.

                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                1. re: scoopG

                                                                                  r--right. 100% precisely correct. you would drive across town to get to piccolo or meritage or something. nobody drives 50 mins or over an hour for a pizza. for 1) the metro is just not that big, and for 2) pizza is a tasty snack, a bar/tavern food, not really a destination meal and certainly not a revelation. it's like a hot dog or a burger. no matter where you are in the metro, you're 10-15 or 20 minutes away from something decent in the local thin-crust style or in "other/pizzeria" style. so if you're near a good place, or are having a beer w your buds, then you eat that. if it's just okay, well. . . it doesn't suck.

                                                                                  folks who are married to the idea of the "only" acceptable pizza, not actually being a whole pizza, but a "slice," tend to have a really hard time getting pizza they like in msp, milwaukee, and the rest of the region. just as you say, you'd need to get to one of maybe a half dozen "slice" places just as a fresh slice-pie comes out of the oven, and have several other excited slice-o-philes joining you in line. it doesn't happen because nobody orders pizza like this, so that's why you never get a decent slice, unless you're close to campus at bar close. going out for a stale, cold, "lonely," slice is the wrong way to do it when everyone else in town is buying a whole, fresh pie, so spanking hot you burn your fingers on the "corners." not just my own opinion, ask the guys in the lumberjack shirts at the bar across the street-- they probably wouldn't touch the limp and lonely slice cut pizza if you bought it for them, they know it's been sitting around for heaven knows how long. note that the true midwest square cut style pizza is small enough to be served on a plastic tray on a bar-- it tops out at around 14 inches for a large, and is thin, thin, crustless and cracker-thin-- so one large pie really isn't too much for 3 hungry folks, and a small or medium is great for 2. or, um, one guy in a lumberjack shirt who just finished shoveling ;-P

                                                                                  so, basic philosophical differences between east coast and midwest pizza styles exist, sure. insurmountable? maybe, but why? it's *just* pizza--crust, sauce, cheese. . .there are crappy local square cut joints and pretty excellent ones, but at least if you actually try the local style, it's fresher than the average slice under a heat lamp.

                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                    I'll respectfully disagree with your saying that pizza is not a destination meal. Carbone's style pizza certainly isn't (to me, anyway), but Black Sheep, Lola, Biga, etc. certainly is. Pizza is one of those foods that can be bar snack or football game watching meal, or it can be elevated to an art, which is what the folks at Black Sheep and Lola are doing.

                                                                                    And I wholeheartedly disagree with saying that within the metro, you're always 10-15 minutes from something decent. That's like saying you're always within 10 minutes of a decent burger because there's always a McD's or Burger King nearby. Heck, I live a 10 minute walk (tops) from Fat Lorenzo's, but would rather wait drive to Washington Ave and wait 60 minutes for Black Sheep Pizza.

                                                                                    It does come down to personal preference. I don't like cracker crust style pizza. I've eaten it from over a dozen different places, and I simply don't like it. For me, it's not worth the calories. To me, eating Carbone's or the like is similar to going to McD's or BK for dinner. Local style - fresher than a heat lamp? Sure, but if those are my only two choices, I'm doing something wrong in life.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Fat Lorenzos
                                                                                    5600 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55417

                                                                                    1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                      wow, the local mom&pop pizzerias are the equivalent of burger king and mcdonalds? that's a bit strong now, isn't it? why exactly such strong distate, especially for something so basic as melted cheese on bread? a fresh-made pizza in any style can be a beautiful thing, and should be easily appreciated by anyone-- most street foods/tavern foods are strong and joyous, imo, *because* they are accessible, and not because anyone sees them as art, but as food. i am sorry you can't seem to wrap your head around the local style of pizza, as you keep repeating in all your posts--we get it---but based on your strong feelings i would assume you'd also dislike cali-style and italian-style pizza as well, and you claim to like these, though otherwise you just don't seem to want to get out your own comfort zone. it still doesn't mean the local style of pizza doesn't or shouldn't exist, or that it should be shut out of the discussion, just because of your own preferences.

                                                                                      btw in case you are unaware, here's an interesting tidbit of food-related immigration history. unlike the east coast, the italian-americans who settled right here in the msp area were mostly from one particular area of italy. they were neapolitans. so the local, thin-crust style of pizza is pretty directly descended from the neapolitan pizza at a particular point in history, as the italian immigrants would have encountered a new culture and environment-- most notably landing in a big dairy area, so possibly going a little nuts with the cheese :) heh, nothing wrong with that imo.

                                                                                      by contrast, the italian-armericans who settled on the east coast were mostly rural folks from all over the entire country of italy. when they opened pizzerias, many of them were basically making up a pizza style to appeal to their target customers, it wasn't actually a food they had ever experienced at home. the new italian-american dish became standardized and developed into the east coast pizza styles we are familiar with today. of course recently there is a renewed interest in traditional italian, roman, and neapolitan pizza styles throughout the whole country, and many folks including myself enjoy these and think they are great. i don't think it's at all bad to live in a town where several different pizza styles can coexist, in fact i think it's pretty special to still be able to get a regional pizza style that actually has a specific and interesting history-- you know, before it's crushed out of existence and all.

                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                        No, sk, I never said that mom and pops were the equivalent of McD's and BK. Punch, Black Sheep, Biga, Nea, and Lola are all "mom and pops". I also don't agree that pizza is simply "melted cheese on bread". If that were the case, pop some Kraft mozzarella on some wonder bread into the toaster and call it a day.

                                                                                        I also never said local style of pizzas shouldn't exist. They are obviously very popular.

                                                                                        What I was objecting to was your saying that in the metro area, good pizza is always within a 10-15 minute drive. Personally, I don't agree with that. That's it. We seem to see pizza in different ways. You see it more of a bar food, and I see it as something more. And our differences in views are clearly reflected by how we see pizza in MN - I am pickier about where I eat pizza than you seem to be. Some folks are that way about Thai food, some are that way about burgers (actually, I'm that way about burgers too).

                                                                                        And not to get too off-track, but the biggest region of Italian immigrants to the east coast was also Neapolitan, as well as Sicilian. Yes, Minnesota got mainly Neapolitans and Calabrians, but other parts of the US were also fairly regionalized in the Italian migration: New Orleans got mainly Sicilians, California got mainly northern Italians. Interestingly, you can see that reflected in the style of cooking in those US regions.

                                                                                        I agree, I think it's great there are different pizza styles, much like there are different pizza styles in most cities on the east coast, too. To be honest, I don't see what all this fuss is about. When such a broad question as what's the best thin crust pizza in the MSP area comes up, there are bound to be differences. And clearly, what you grow up with plays a huge part in it.

                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                          Just pizza. Melted cheese on bread. Wow. That's the thinking that leads to Domino's.

                                                                                          With respect to immigration. The bigger issue is critical mass. Big enough populations keep the food traditions alive. Pizza with sauerkraut is not an Italian food tradition. Many of the top MSP pizzerias are not from the long ago Italian-american immigration, but are the result of rediscovery of the pizza styles largely lost in MSP. Sure you can still find some good MSP Italian food from the long ago diaspora, but mostly not.

                                                                                          1. re: MrSlippery

                                                                                            Is pizza with sauerkraut a MSP food tradition? I had never seen such a thing until I moved here. I like the reuben pizza from John's Pizza Cafe in St Paul.

                                                                                            1. re: Quince

                                                                                              there are a lot of German-descent people here, so it would make sense that they would want to put sauerkraut on everything including pizza.

                                                                                    2. re: scoopG

                                                                                      I agree - it does come down to how far are you willing to go. Given that metric, as well as "how long am i willing to wait", here's my answers:

                                                                                      Black Sheep Pizza: it's a 20 minute drive for me. I'd drive 60 minutes. I've waited 2 hours for a table. Won't wait that long again, but I'll wait an hour for their pizza (while enjoying a beer).

                                                                                      Punch: it's a 10 minute drive. Wouldn't drive more than 20. Wouldn't wait more than 15.

                                                                                      Biga: It's my neighborhood go-to place. That said, I wouldn't wait more than 15 minutes or drive more than 30 to get to it.

                                                                                      Lola: I'll wait 45 minutes and drive 60 minutes to get to it.

                                                                                      Nea: I'll drive 30 and wait 15.

                                                                                      Fat Lorenzo's: it's a 10 minute walk for me, and I haven't had their pizza in over a year. What does that tell you?

                                                                                      Carbone's: it's a 5 minute drive and I try to avoid it like the plague.

                                                                                      Red Savoy's: will only go with a large group of people. If it's being served for lunch, I'll eat my emergency Clif bar.

                                                                                      Mesa and Luci: If it's 1:30 am, I'm hungry, and I'm within a 5 minute detour, I'm all over it. Other than that? Not so much.

                                                                                      Broder's (50th and Penn): I go to get their pizza for lunch sometimes. I'll drive 30 minutes and wait 10 for it. On a Saturday for lunch, they're turning pies out pretty quick. No worries about slices sitting and getting lonely. But I hear what you're saying.

                                                                                      Slice of NY: I'll drive 30 and wait 10. I go their for lunch occasionally on weekends.

                                                                                      Hiawatha Pizza: I've only gotten whole pies, so I don't worry about about slices sitting around. So I know they're fresh. I go to pick it up myself. 30 minute round trip and worth it.

                                                                                      Parkway: If they didn't deliver, they'd be irrelevant. In fact, because of the new entry a few blocks away (see below), they are now irrelevant.

                                                                                      The new player in my neighborhood: Di Noko's: They deliver. It's decent stuff. Given the delivery options or other options within a 10 minute drive for that style pizza (I'm not including Biga in this), they're the best around. By far.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Fat Lorenzos
                                                                                      5600 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55417

                                                                                      1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                        just for the record, Broder's Deli makes whole pizzas, years ago I had one, excellent deep-dish style thing. no one lonely in there.. but I like their lonely slices even cold. and they warm them up for you anyway, let's not get overly dramatic.

                                                                                        1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                          Thanks for this list! BTW, I can see where Slice of NY and Hiawatha fall into the NY Style that is Rays: Famous Rays, Ray's Famous, Rays Original, Original Famous Rays, etc. but that is not what I go for in pizza.

                                                                                      2. If you get down to the southwest suburbs, Gina Maria's (http://www.realpizza.com, the pizza is way better than the web design) has three locations (Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Glen Lake) and is really good for out here. Not sure how it measures up to the Cities stuff, but it's way better to order there than the chains.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: aguynamedbob

                                                                                          just had to share this interesting experience- I was on the East Bank by the U last night, went into the new Punch pizza that is there now just to warm up. Ended up watching the guy 'manning' the pizza oven- he was quite impressive, seemed very skilled at what he was doing. I noticed at some point he would actually lift up the pizza on the peel and hold it up toward the dome of the oven for a few moments. I've never really stood and watched them do pizzas before for very long...

                                                                                          His pizzas didn't look as charred as other Punch pizzas I've observed. Seemed like maybe he's got a certain technique that would be worth checking out for people who aren't super thrilled with the tendency to undercooked and/or charred pizzas....like there's a way to avoid that. I asked him how long it took him to learn how to do it, he said 'around 6 months to a year'...

                                                                                          the cashier said you can ask for less char etc too and they will accomodate you.

                                                                                          1. re: faith

                                                                                            I wonder if he was looking for a little "window" where you can kind of see light through the dough. Peter Reinhardt says to look for a "paperthin translucent membrane" near the center of the crust to tell if the dough has been mixed enough. He calls that the windowpane test. (Page 105 of American Pie.)

                                                                                            I do this when I'm making pizza dough. Although I don't have a wood-fired pizza oven.

                                                                                            Watching the dough be stretched and assembled and put in the oven while you wait in line is part of the fun of going to Punch.

                                                                                            1. re: karykat

                                                                                              I don't think he was looking at the pizza, this was done after it had been cooking on the oven floor, he held it up, still in the oven, seemed like it cooked it a bit more without the char effect of when the pizza is sitting on the oven floor..........................more like steaming it? or roasting it....? not sure, you might be right.

                                                                                              1. re: karykat

                                                                                                The window pane test is when you stretch the dough not when baking. The lift is toward the end of the bake to finish the toppings if needed. A good wood- fire pizzeola will also turn the pie at least once toward the fire to get a uniform bake.

                                                                                          2. I'm originally from Philadelphia and I've had my share of good east coat pizza.

                                                                                            I'm not sure what exactly everyone else on this board defines pizza as, but I've got a suggestion that hasn't made the list. Andrea's Pizza- there are three locations in the Twin Citiesl- I go to the one downtown in the Skyway off LaSalle.

                                                                                            It is by far the closest thing I've found to real pizza out here in Minneapolis. There's nothing wrong with wood-fire pizza, but Pizzeria pizza is a whole 'nother animal. There are a bunch of places in town that put sauce, cheese and toppings on bread, and that might be alright for some, but Andrea's has the right mix of sauce, cheese, crust, and grease. Its big and floppy and makes me miss home....

                                                                                            If you're looking for good NYC/Philly Pizza, don't waste your time anywhere else. I mean the owner's name is Andrea GAMBINO, and I assure you, you don't get to use that last name if your Italian food isn't good. They will hunt you down!

                                                                                            http://web.mac.com/billcommando/Andre...

                                                                                            -Sam

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Andrea Pizza
                                                                                            811 Lasalle Ave Ste 202, Minneapolis, MN 55402

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: samg316

                                                                                              samg, I think I've had Andrea's pizza when I was working downtown, you're right, it's a certain style that is really good, and very different from some other types discussed on this board.

                                                                                              I have to say one of my comfort pizzas in Minneapolis is...Davanni's....solo, traditional crust, pineapple, red onion and green peppers. The uptown Davanni's across from Calhoun Square. throw a little red pepper flakes on. Mangia...I dare you to hate that thing, it's perfect.

                                                                                            2. Grampa Tony's Pizza
                                                                                              Tony's Special

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              Grampa Tony's Pizza
                                                                                              631 Snelling Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: s4zando

                                                                                                Andrea's...gotta try it.

                                                                                                Also overlooked in this thread and widely available in the area is the pizza at D'Amico and Sons locations. It's similar in style to Punch and it is well made.

                                                                                              2. I just had the single best pizza that I have tasted in the Twin Cities. Coming from the East Coast, I love a chewy crust with a good crunch and great ingredients. Grand Pizza on Grand Avenue in St Paul next to the Grand Ol Creamery was the best I tasted... it was only $11 for a large with homemade sausage after a $4 coupon. It hit the spot after being disappointed so many times by others claims to be artisinal or neopolitan. Try it out.

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Grand Pizza
                                                                                                301 2nd St S, Stillwater, MN 55082

                                                                                                1. Old World Pizza Love the pizza, crisp crust and the flavorful sauce is great. They give you an abundance of ingredients.

                                                                                                  www.oldworld-pizza.com/menu.htm

                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                  Old World Pizza
                                                                                                  5816 Blaine Ave, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: sweetkim

                                                                                                    http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/12...

                                                                                                    look's like Detello's was voted best in Minnesota...never heard of it.

                                                                                                    1. re: kriminalrat

                                                                                                      60 nominations and 200 votes. Detello's evidently staged a campaign and won by overwhelming default. Everyone else was evidently asleep at the switch. It was an interesting segment and Detello's seems like a decent place.

                                                                                                      1. re: Davydd

                                                                                                        Detello's was good...but your standard Minnesota square cut pizza. In the western suburbs I still prefer Joey Nova's.

                                                                                                        1. re: kriminalrat

                                                                                                          Joey Nova's doesn't do square cut. :)

                                                                                                          Joey Nova's in Tonka Bay (Excelsior) is the closest pizzeria to my house. I order there frequently when I am too lazy to make my own entirely from scratch.

                                                                                                  2. Psycho Suzi's is a top 3 pizza in my opinion. Interesting that it has not been mentioned here. There's no real fault...great crust, sauce and toppings.

                                                                                                    Punch and Black Sheep are the other two...

                                                                                                    Luce comes in a close 4th and they have the best salads of all pizza joints in town.