While the concept of pizza may have originated far across the ocean, it was long ago adopted over here and became a staple of American dining. And we’re not talking about big chain pizza companies delivering a cardboard mess to your front door; we’re talking real, delicious pizza. In Minnesota, we’re as serious about our pizza as we are about our lutefisk (probably more so), and there are countless places to find a slice. When a frozen pizza at home just won’t cut it, enjoy a pie from these local pizzerias.
Pig Ate My Pizza
4154 W. Broadway Ave.
Robbinsdale, MN 55422
The local darlings at Travail would of course not disappoint us with their pizza. While it may not be the “traditional” pie from your childhood, the flavor profiles and painstaking attention to detail make these pizzas one of a kind. You’re not coming here for traditional pie; you’re coming here to be blown away, and have a little fun as well. The pizzas are small, so order a few different kinds, share with friends (or strangers) and enjoy.
600 Washington Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
When it’s all about the crust, Black Sheep is the pizzeria to hit. Coal-fired is the way it was done one hundred years ago, and it is often argued that this method creates the finest pizzas. It is hard to argue upon trying a slice at Black Sheep. Using Anthracite coal, which (added bonus) is almost completely emission-free, this is the crispiest crust around and the perfect vehicle for ingredients like Persian beef or fennel sausage.
Punch Neopolitan Pizza
704 Cleveland Ave.
St Paul, MN 55116
While Punch was recently featured nationally for its minimum wage hike, Punch has been getting accolades for years for the quality of its pie. One of only a handful of American pizzerias that have the Naples seal of approval, the Vera Pizza Napoletana, Punch’s adherence to the traditional methods pays off in its to-die-for crust, covered with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. You honestly don’t need more than that, but there are plenty of toppings to choose from for those feeling frisky.
961 Rice St.
St Paul, MN 55117
This is old-school gooey goodness. If you’re not a fan of cheese, stay far away from Mama’s. Anyone who wants that melty mozzarella in layers covering rich tomato sauce and crispy crust needs to head over to Rice Street immediately. This is an oft-overlooked gem in St. Paul, but the pizza hasn’t lost a step in the nearly 50 years it has been in operation. Added bonus: you get a free mini ice cream cone when the meal is finished.
5600 Cedar Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55417
There’s nothing fancy here, just awesome pizza with the classic toppings that make for a satisfyingly delicious experience. You can get a small 10″ pizza for yourself, or bring friends and family and share the 18″. Either way, classic mixes like Slim’s, with mushrooms, green peppers, onions and black olives, or the New Haven, made like they do back east with clams and herb sauce, will have you dancing on the table. There’s no need to stray from the classics when you have places like Fat Lorenzo’s.
55 5th St.
St Paul, MN 55101
The limited hours at Pino make it hard to enjoy one of the best slices you’ll find in the Twin Cities. Hidden away in the Alliance Bank Center food court in the St. Paul skyway system, the pizzeria is open only for lunch, from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, and there is often a long line of eager customers. The pizzas are baked fresh daily, and the large, floppy New York-style slices are heavenly. If you find yourself wandering downtown St. Paul around lunchtime, you’ll be remised if you don’t grab a slice (or two).
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.