In the spirit of full disclosure, melaniewinters.com is a compensated affiliate meaning we may make a small commission when you click on/purchase something through the ad links in this post (not the restaurant links). This doesn't change the price at all for you, but does help us keep on keepin' on.
Jason DeRusha just opened up a can of worms among pizza enthusiasts (so basically everyone) by ranking his top 12 picks for Best Pizza in the Twin Cities. While he did make some pretty admirable picks, I’m pretty certain he left out some of the best that the metro has to offer. So, with that being said, I’m going to muddy the waters and encourage even more debate with my own best pizza list from the lens of a 30 year old woman who graduated from the U of M, lived in Minneapolis for several years and recently became a west metro suburbanite. Please keep that lens in mind and understand that, no, I’m not making the trip to White Bear Lake no matter how good you claim your za is. At least not until my kids’ sports tournaments bring me your way, at which point I’ll totally add your recommendation to my list should it be worthy. So let me know what I’m missing out on in the comments below and maybe I’ll get around to it in the next several years…
My list is only seven deep because I’m loyal to my favorite joints. I’ve got my favorite zas and it’s hard to wander to new ones. If I’m going to go out for pizza I’m usually hitting up my number one pick. If I’m looking for local take out to bring on the lake - it’s number three. Family coming over and no one wants to cook? Someone’s picking up from the second-place spot on the way over. So, although these are ranked, they really depend on my mood, what kind of pizza I’m going for and the convenience factor. The top four are seriously ELITE though. SO elite that I kind of feel like I should make a plea for you NOT to try my number one pick - I don’t want to deal with the long lines that will ensue once everyone realizes they’ve been missing out on this hidden gem!
7. Detello’s Pizza & Pasta Eden Prairie
Family run for over 25 years this place has deep dish down as well as their specialties - slate baked pizza and home-baked garlic toast. Nothing fancy, just good old fashioned za.
6. Pizza Luce Multiple Locations
A vast menu but a go-to for specialty pizzas, and not just for hipsters anymore. I can’t even recommend just one because they’ve got a delicious pizza for every mood.
5. Mesa Pizza Dinkytown & Uptown Locations
This is a tribute pick to my college days. Many a nights ended with a late night trip to Mesa Pizza. A slice of their Mac & Cheese is always a must but you can’t go wrong with any of their specialty slices. Also - you can get extra large zas delivered right to your door for those late night munchies, or in my case now, too tired to cook family dinners.
4. Pig Ate My Pizza Robbinsdale
Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than Pig Ate My Pizza (or anything from the Travail Collective). These top 4 spots are really interchangeable depending on what your little heart desires. I just don’t get out to Robbinsdale often enough.
3. Olive’s Fresh Pizza Bar Excelsior (although they have a White Bear Lake location as well)
Two words: Alaskan Pizza. Probably my favorite pizza EVER. They also have the best gluten free crust I’ve ever tried so that’s a huge bonus for all of those who want all of the pizza and none of the wheat. Olive’s is THE place for gourmet pizza - hands down, but heads up, it’ll cost you.
2. Joey Nova’s Tonka Bay
Another specialty pizza gem. Seriously every single one of their specialty pizzas is bomb.com. They also have extra large sizes to feed the masses (like Olive’s though, it’s going to be pricey). It’s hard for us to stray from The Deluxe and the Barbecue Chicken, but no joke every single other option is equally delicious! While you’re at it, you MUST get an order (or two) of Joey’s Meatballs- fully loaded with sauce and mozzarella.
1. Italian Pie Shoppe & Winery St. Paul (although they have locations in Eagan and New Hope as well)
We’re huge fans of Chicago deep dish. Lou Malnati’s is a must visit every time we head to Chicago. We don’t have Lou’s in Minnesota. **Sad Face** But we do have Italian Pie Shoppe and it provides the best deep dish in town! If I’m heading to St. Paul, you can bet I’ll be stopping here.
I’m a creature of habit. I’ve found pizzas I love and it’s hard to deviate from the norm. I wish I could eat pizza every day and frequent all of the best pizza joints in town, but alas, my body won’t let me. So, here are two honorable mention picks of pizza places that I’ve only ever heard phenomenal things about, but have yet to try myself (you try getting out of the house to taste test za with a three month old): Young Joni and Pizzeria Lola of Minneapolis.
The other pizza place that doesn’t compare to these two gourmet options but does deserve honorable mention due to how often I frequent it (thanks to their phenomenal deals and the fact that it’s on the way home), is Toppers Pizza. Yes, it’s a chain, so yes I know haters are gonna hate, but this is my guilty pleasure. Another throwback to college, this chain started in Wisconsin and it’s pizza features real Wisconsin cheese. Nothing says college like a triple order of Toppers Sticks with nacho cheese dipping sauce, because #health.