MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As far as hometown pizza icons go, Joey Nova’s in Tonka Bay has only been around for 15 years.
“We’ve been involved in the community, we try to be part of the community,” owner Mo Hassanzadeh, who bought the place in 2006 because he loved the pizza so much, said. “In the summertime this place is jammed with people.”READ MORE: Trooper, Motorist Injured After Truck Crashes Into Burnsville Building
The humble strip mall location is nothing special, but Joey Nova’s is nestled along the shores of Lake Minnetonka, near Mound, Wayzata, and Excelsior. That makes it the pizza place for the summer lake crowd and the hometown slice shop for everyone else.
“Our pizza is true New York style in the Cities. I’ve had New Yorkers come from Eden Prairie and say ‘This is it,'” Hassanzadeh said.
New York-style pizza has a crisp crust on the bottom, chewy right above and almost gooey cheese on top.
“We make everything from scratch here,” Hassanzadeh said.
Mo came to Minnesota from Iran as a 19-year-old. He’s spent 30 years working in and owning restaurants.
“Next is retirement,” he laughed.
TJ’s of Edina was his first, where both his daughters worked in the family business.READ MORE: Sexual Assault Charges Re-Filed Against Ex-Renaissance Festival Manager
“Of course I had to pay them, no free labor,” he said.
His oldest daughter didn’t stay in the restaurant business – she is WCCO-TV reporter Erin Hassanzadeh, who said she was born and raised in the restaurant.
“It was excellent. They always showed up. I knew if I scheduled Erin and Emily they’d always show up,” Mo Hassanzadeh said.
Joey’s is known for creative toppings. Take the Joey Blue, which according to pizza cook Matt Morseth has broccoli, pepperoni, red onion, blue cheese, garlic, olive oil.
But it’s more than pizzas. Joey Nova’s has sandwiches, salads, and baked pastas.
“We have two kitchens: one in the front for pizza, one in the back for everything else. In the kitchen when you get four ovens going. It gets very hot,” Mo Hassanzadeh said.
Mostly, though, Joey Nova’s is known for the great people and great family, which makes this place feel like home.
“I love the Tonka Bay community, it’s like a small town in a big city,” Mo Hassanzadeh said.MORE NEWS: 'Best Small Cities In America': 2 Minnesota Communities Make The Top 50 List
Joey Nova’s Pizzeria and Grilled Subs
5655 Manitou Road
Tonka Bay, MN 55331
Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: Open until 10 p.m.