Viewers’ Choice For MN’s Best Pizza

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Pizza is something practically everyone loves, but not everyone agrees on.

Thin crust or deep dish, anchovies or extra cheese – and who makes the best pie in town?

It’s too difficult a question for us to answer, so we put it to a vote of WCCO viewers.

More than 8,000 people weighed in, and picked a place that got its start at Cleveland and Grand avenues in St. Paul – Davanni’s.

Davanni’s hasn’t always been the Twin Cities staple it is today. When the doors opened in 1975, it was Pontillio’s.

“It was a real small location, we only had 30 seats in this place,” Mick Stenson said.

When Stenson came on board two years later, he wasn’t exactly a restaurant veteran.

“I was working in the plumbing business, and it was a side light to me, and then we started doing really well,” Stenson said.

They changed the name to Davanni’s in 1983 and grew not by trying to be trendy or gourmet, but by being consistent.

“There’s nothing terribly romantic about the Blodgett ovens that are behind me,” Stenson said. “They aren’t the wood fired ovens, but they make really great pizzas.”

And as much as the food, people seem to like the shops.

“There’s something about this location, it just seems to have a very mellow, fun vibe,” customer Ron Gustafson said.

That comes from giving managers room to make each Davanni’s their own.

“I don’t really think of this as a chain,” Gustafson said. “I think of it as Davanni’s on Grand and Cleveland.”

As for the pizza itself, it’s simple and straightforward.

There were also some smaller shops that got a bunch of votes, too.

Old World Pizza in Inver Grove Heights, Sven & Ole’s in Grand Marais, and Jake’s Pizza in Willmar.

Next week? It’s best Doggy Day Care in Minnesota.

Tweet @ Matt_Brickman, or email him.

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