Food & Drink

The Best Spots for Pizza in the Twin Cities

Published On 12/18/2014 Published On 12/18/2014
punch pizza
Courtesy of Punch Pizza

The Twin Cities have been #blessed with a pretty great pizza scene, one filled with a group of restaurants that span the catalogue of pie joints: from the classic shop that refuses to fall off the top of its saucy throne, to those newer ones creating some never-before-seen (and -tasted) concoctions. The abundance of places to grab a slice only assures us that we'll never grow tired of pizza. Honestly, between the different types of toppings, crust styles, and sauce options, how could we ever part with the cheesy, carb-infested favorite? So c'mon -- grab those napkins, because this one's going to get messy.

Burch

Lowry Hill

Located in the basement of a top-shelf steakhouse, this little bar bangs out some truly great, and unique, wood-fired pizzas. The funghi pie is a local favorite: it's topped with wild mushrooms, creamed leeks, and a delicious truffled cheese. But there's never really a bad option here. Whether you're looking for a standard pepperoni, or something a little more outside the box (think: smoked pork shoulder & hazelnuts, or spicy Thai sausage with mint, basil, and cilantro), there's undoubtedly something that'll catch your eye.

Pizza Lucé

Pizza Lucé

Downtown (& other locations)

This place was one of the Twin Cities' first modern boutique pizza parlors, and it remains a beloved staple to this very day. It was the first to introduce us to the mashed potato pizza -- a pie that's still a local favorite. The whole wheat-based crust continues to be an undeniable signature, on top of the smattering of creative pies that can accommodate the most ravenous meat eaters or eclectic vegans. Fifteen specialty pies -- all of which range from "vegan" to "vegan upon request," and even "gluten-free upon request" -- and the option to build your own await.

Black Sheep Pizza

North Loop (& other locations)

This place has been on a roll since expanding out from the original North Loop location and opening two additional spots on Eat Street and in Downtown St. Paul. The pizzas are coal fired, which gives the crust a great smoky flavor along with a slight char. There are over 10 specialty pies to choose from, topped with anything from Persian beef to oyster mushroom. But of course, standard toppings are also available (and recommended).

Parkway Pizza

Northeast (& Longfellow)

This place is all about that true, Midwestern-style pizza. The crust is of medium thickness, but it then gets hit with a generous amount of sauce, a ton of toppings, and several cheese options before it hits the oven for a good bake. In proper Midwest fashion, it’s sliced into squares and delivered directly to your table (or house). It’s a South Minneapolis staple for sure.

Pizzeria Lola

Pizzeria Lola

Southwest

Anna Kim’s flagship is still the Twin Cities' pinnacle pizza palace, offering up a variety of high-quality, wood-fired pies with her signature twists. The Lady ZaZa (red sauce, homemade kimchi, Korean sausage, peppers, scallions, sesame, and soy chili glaze) and the Korean BBQ (beef short ribs, mozzarella, almonds, and olives) both bring a nice twist to the party, while classics like the My Sha-Roni are sure to please any pizza purist. A real local favorite is the Forager, topped with a variety of mushrooms, taleggio & fontina cheeses, tarragon, and a spritz of truffle oil. An insider tip: for an additional $3, add on the house-made fennel sausage.

Punch Pizza

Highland Park (& other locations)

There’s nothing quite like a freshly fired margherita pizza with a drizzle of olive oil and a few chili flakes. This original Twin Cities staple is still one of the best if you're in search of an old-fashioned wood-fired pie. Plus, the many locations make getting a hold of one fairly easy.

Crescent Moon Bakery

Crescent Moon Bakery

Central Ave (& Como Ave)

The pizzas here are notable for a couple of reasons. First of all, the cracker-style crust is football-shaped (which is weird enough), and provides a great crunch for every bite. Second, you can pair your pizza with some spicy green cilantro-based hot sauce that gives the pie the extra kick you never knew you wanted. If you’ve yet to experience this, hustle on over to Crescent Moon Bakery ASAP.

Fat Lorenzo's

Nokomis

This is another absolutely classic South Minneapolis pizza joint in all regards: heavy on toppings, and heavy on cheese. It’s a perfect little family-style pizzeria that offers a number of combination pies in 10, 14, 16, and 18in form, as well as pizza by the slice. If you manage to have some room afterward, order up a scoop or two of gelato (which is almost as good as the pizza).

Mavericks Pizza

Maverick's

Highland Park

This St. Paul pizzeria is pumping up delicious, hand-tossed New York-style pizzas with its own special twist: in place of your standard mozzarella-topped pie, it uses its own cheese blend of cheddar, feta, and Parmesan for an added taste. Take your pick from one of the many specialty pies, or build your own. Both choices can be made in either 8, 12, or 16in variations, or a 12in deep dish.

DiNoko's

Southwest

When it comes to grabbing a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza in the Twin Cities, this is many a locals' number one go-to. Offered in both 10 and 12in pies, DiNoko's pizzas come with a buttery crust that is first layered with cheese, then with any topping of your choosing. It’s finally doused in fresh tomato sauce, giving it that real deep-dish appeal. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, this favorite also offers thin or hand-tossed crusts. No matter the choice, it's a great taste of the Windy City without having to take the eight-hour drive.

Red Wagon Pizza Company

Red Wagon

Southwest

While we’ve got a host of places that make good use of big-ass wood ovens, this place has its own particular charm with a distinctly modern Midwest feel. The Gaucho comes with herb roasted potatoes and marinated flank steak; the beet pizza comes topped with caramelized onions and fresh chevre; and the bahn mi pizza is a particular treat that features a 12-hour braised, soy-glazed pulled pork that includes pickled carrots, radishes, cucumber, jalapeño, and cilantro. It's all finished with a spicy Sriracha aioli.

Pizza Nea

Northeast

It’s hard to go wrong with a classic Neapolitan-style pizza, and this place undoubtedly has some of the best in town. Along with the variety of options in both the red and white categories (translation: red is tomato sauce, white is olive oil & salt), this place now offers vegan faux-meat alternatives courtesy of the vegan butcher shop down the street, The Herbivorous Butcher, making this a great spot for people of all kinds.

HELLO PIZZA (edited)

Hello Pizza

Southwest

Hello Pizza is a slice shop from the undisputed Twin Cities pizza queen, Anna Kim. It's the perfect spot if you're looking for that New York-style crust and some quality sauce and cheese. One bite into the slice and you'll realize what you've been missing, because it's that. damn. good. If you’re feeling in the mood for something a little different, check out the Sicilian-style slice.

Pig Ate My Pizza

Robbinsdale

When the folks behind the molecular dining hotspot Travail announced they’d be opening a pizza place, we all knew it was going to be more than meets the eye -- and we were correct. Pig Ate My Pizza takes this doughy goodness to the extreme, evidenced by the Piggy Pie: a pizza that contains an incredible amount of pork on a thick, buttery brioche crust. It’s as delicious as it sounds.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

Mesa Pizza

Dinkytown

If you’ve got yourself a heavy case of the munchies, this is your spot. Mesa has the goods on out-of-the-ordinary pizza toppings (mac & cheese, spicy chicken burrito, cheesy potato). But even with the unusual draws, it still manages to have the single best cheese pizza in town. If you're into ordering a whole pie, the massive 18in cheese or pepperoni goes for $17.

Mucci's Italian

West 7th

This new spot from some of the folks behind the Strip Club and Saint Dinette has quickly become a local favorite -- largely because of the pizza. The rich, buttery, SUPER-crispy crust alone is enough reason to stop by, but the meatball & fresh ricotta pizza is a real thing of beauty.

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Keane Amdahl is a veteran Twin Cities food writer who might be just a little bit addicted to pizza. Follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned to see if he's actually a ninja turtle in disguise.

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1. Burch 1933 Colfax Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (Lowry Park)

James Beard-nominated chef Isaac Becker is behind this steakhouse-slash-pizzeria in Minneapolis. On the first floor, Burch Steakhouse serves an eclectic menu filled with raw bar options, prime beef and domestic Wagyu, and a variety of European-style dumplings. In the basement, the Pizza Bar bangs out Neapolitan-style pies from a white oak-fueled pizza oven. Every pizza comes with an exciting combination of toppings -- hey, there aren't many places you can get pizza topped with a lobster claw.

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2. Pizza Lucé 119 N 4th St, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (Downtown)

Pizza Lucé is a modern boutique pizza parlor that is a beloved Twin City staple. Creative pies like the wildly popular "Baked Potato Pizza" (loaded with garlicky potatoes, broccoli, diced tomatoes, and bacon) and "Fire Breathing Dragon" (sweet chili sauce, jerk chicken or tofu, pineapple salsa, mozzarella, and gouda) are fan favorites. This spot offers over a dozen other innovative pies, all of which range from "vegan" to "vegan upon request," and even "gluten-free upon request" -- and the option to build your own.

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3. Black Sheep Pizza 600 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1249 (North Loop)

The first coal-burning restaurant in Minneapolis (!), Black Sheep cranks out delicious pizzas using a method that is practically emission-free. Slight more important, the crusts are given a great smoky flavor along with a slight char. There are over 10 specialty pies to choose from, topped with anything from Persian beef to oyster mushroom. But of course, standard toppings are also available (and recommended).

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4. Parkway Pizza Northeast 2851 Johnson St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418 (Northeast)

Midwestern-style pizza is king at this Northeast location of the small, Twin Cities chain: medium thick crust, a generous portion of sauce and toppings (31 options, to be precise), and a number of cheese selections. And In proper Midwest fashion, it’s sliced into squares and delivered directly to your table (or house). Alongside build-you-own pies, menu highlights include speciality pizzas like the artichoke deluxe, pice de gallo, and spicy garlic chicken.

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5. Pizzeria Lola 5557 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410 (Southwest)

Offering wood-fired pizza from a Korean immigrant trying to emulate her mother's home cooking, Lola's has delicious pies with a twist. Popular orders include "The Lady ZaZa" (red sauce, homemade kimchi, Korean sausage, peppers, scallions, sesame, and soy chili glaze) and "The Xerxes" (sautéed spinach, sheep’s milk feta, mozzarella, kalamata olives & almonds). Be sure to cleanse your palate with some of the house-made soft-serve ice cream.

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6. Punch Neapolitan Pizza 704 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116 (Highland Park)

Punch Pizza in Highland Park is a casual spot located in a strip-mall offshoot and specializes in old-fashioned wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas with a wide variety of toppings available. There’s nothing quite like a freshly fired Margherita pizza cooked at a blistering 900 degrees with a drizzle of olive oil, a few chili flakes and crafted to perfection.

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7. Crescent Moon Bakery 2339 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418 (Central)

Crescent Moon Bakery is a casual and simple restaurant, known for serving football-shaped pizzas, which in three sizes, with cracker-style crust, providing a great crunch for every bite. You can pair your pizza with some spicy green cilantro-based hot sauce that gives the pie the extra kick you never knew you wanted.

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8. Fat Lorenzo's 5600 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55417-2646 (Nokomis)

Fat Lorenzo's is an absolutely classic South Minneapolis pizza joint in all regards: heavy on toppings, and heavy on cheese. It’s a perfect little family-style pizzeria that offers a number of combination pies in 10, 14, 16, and 18in form, as well as pizza by the slice. If you manage to have some room afterward, order up a scoop or two of gelato (which is almost as good as the pizza).

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9. Mavericks Pizza 1215 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105 (Highland Park)

This small and cute St. Paul pizzeria is pumping up delicious, hand-tossed New York-style pizzas with its own special twist: in place of your standard mozzarella-topped pie, it uses its own cheese blend of cheddar, feta, and Parmesan for an added taste. Take your pick from one of the many specialty pies, or build your own. Both choices can be made in either 8, 12, or 16in variations, or a 12in deep dish.

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10. Di Noko's Pizza 420 South 4th St, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (Downtown)

Di Noko's serves delicious Chicago-style deep dish pizzas with a build-your-own menu that's available for takeout, delivery, and dining in. The pizzas come with a buttery crust that is first layered with cheese, then with any topping of your choosing. It’s finally doused in fresh tomato sauce, giving it that real deep-dish appeal. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, this favorite also offers thin or hand-tossed crusts.

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11. Red Wagon Pizza Company 5416 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419 (Southwest)

What started out as a pizza food truck has built its own brick-and-mortar, where its serving even more delicious pizza to Southwest Minneapolis. Red Wagon’s pies are all Neapolitan style fired off in a high-heat wood oven, and finished off with unique topping varieties—the signature Red Wagon pizza features house-made cheese over a red sauce, crispy soppressata, banana peppers, house-made sausage, and finished with chili flakes and a fig balsamic. In addition to the pies, RW also serves chilaquiles and fresh baked pastries.

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12. Pizza Nea - Northeast 306 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (Northeast)

Pizza Nea in the Northeast is a cozy gourmet wood-fired Neapolitan pizzeria offering salads and microbrews. It stands above other pizzerias in the Twin Cities with its fresh and varied toppings. For wine lovers, not only does PN have its own pizza-shop wine list, but it’s also located right across the from wine-and-cheese spot Surdyk’s, making it a perfect launching pad for (or resting place during) a night downtown.

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13. Hello Pizza 3904 Sunnyside Rd, Edina, MN 55424 (Southwest)

Hello Pizza is the NY slice-style sister concept to local fave Pizzeria Lola. Successfully combining possibly America's most popular greeting with possibly America's most popular eating, this counter service spot is the place if you're looking for that New York-style crust and some quality sauce and cheese.

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14. Pig Ate My Pizza 4154 W Broadway Ave, Robbinsdale, MN 55422

This pizzeria started by the gang at molecular gastronomy hotspot Travail is known for its gourmet, porchetta filled pies. The namesake Piggy Pie is a must-try for local foodies: the gloriously doughy pizza contains an incredible amount of pork on a thick, buttery brioche crust. It’s as delicious as it sounds. Run, don't walk to this one.

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15. Mesa Pizza 1323 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (Dinkytown)

The Dinkytown outpost of this Twin Cities late night staple offers all the classic slices you crave (in a city with a plethora of pizzerias, Mesa manages to have the single best cheese pizza in town), plus some unconventional options that'll have you jonesing. Mac & cheese, spicy chicken burrito bits, cheesy potatoes are just some of the toppings you can pile on your pie.

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16. Mucci's 786 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102 (West Seventh)

Eating at this St. Paul Italian joint comes close to eating in your own home. Owner and chef Tim Niver likes to work the room, and this purposely small dining space makes it easier to do so (it also adds to the cozy familial vibe he was going for). Getting a table at Mucci's is first-come-first-served, which makes seating a group difficult but it is so worth it. Made-in-house pasta and traditional Italian pizza (think big slices of mozzarella, entire leaves of basil and thin crust) are the shining stars here. Not willing to risk waiting for a table? You can order any of their dinner items for takeout.

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