MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For 25 years, it’s been a hidden gem in the southern suburb of Eagan. In fact, when Jason DeRusha posted some videos on Instagram, loyal customers begged him to keep it their secret.

But the secret is out: This morning, DeRusha Eats along Highway 77 at Brianno’s Deli Italia!

If Tony Larsen looks like a pro at getting pizza dough ready. It’s because he’s been making thin crust at Brianno’s Deli in Eagan for more than 20 years.

The restaurant is tucked away behind a bike shop off Cliff Road in South Suburban Eagan. It’s founded by Brian (Brianno) Mangine using his mom Josephina’s recipes in 1993.

When Brian decided to retire last year, he sold to a loyal customer George Maverick. And there was an overwhelming response from custumers saying “do not mess with our food!”

“It’s reassuring, but it’s also very intimidating, because it’s a high standard to meet,” Maverick said.

Turns out, customers had nothing to worry about: Same recipes, same longtime employees, same homemade bread for incredible sandwiches. They make the sauce; the Italian sausage, too — with just enough fennel.

To those customers in the know, they drive here from all over the Twin Cities for honest-to-goodness home-style Italian food.

“As soon as you open the door and you get a whiff of the place, you go ‘well, it was worth the drive,” said one custumer.

But the key ingredient here isn’t in any of the dishes. It’s Brianno’s employees who take care of every customer like they’re family.

“They run the place, I just get the credit,” Maverick said, laughing.

Brianno’s, located on 2280 Cliff Road, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Comments (2)
  1. As a result of Jason’s pitch, I had the Chicago beef sandwich for the first time after lots of years of pizzas. Oh, my. . . . .I take pleasure in introducing newcomers to the good eats at Brianno’s. The staff has always been cordial and accommodating of family quirks where pizza is involved and we do so appreciate it. No judging. LOL!!