There’s just something about pizza. Its melty, drippy, gooey, crispy, crunchy goodness satisfies deep-down cravings. There are nearly 70,000 pizzerias in the United States. Arrive at the intersection of I-494 and Hwy 55, and you’ll find four within a dough-ball’s throw.
SOLOS PIZZA CAFE
Solos is best known for its chewy, airy crusts baked fast in their high-tech convection oven. “What takes other places to cook in 20 minutes, we make it in less than three,” says Mark Derichs, general manager of the Plymouth location. They also take pride in the fresh ingredients that are nitrate-, hormone-, as well as preservative-free.
Crust options include thin, original, gluten-free and whole grain. Sauces are a varied mix of mild and hot: organic marinara, creamy white garlic, bbq, spicy buffalo, chipotle pesto, organic zesty marinara, olive oil and basil pesto. The Big Tony specialty pizza, a seven-ingredient powerhouse, is top seller. On a diet? Check out their pizzas that have fewer than 500 calories.
GREEN MILL RESTAURANT AND BAR
Sampling its legendary deep dish is like eating a slice of history. Green Mill also offers an Old World crust with ingredients folded into it; a classic thin; the Pescara, which is their specially seasoned and hand-tossed variety and a gluten-friendly option. Of their seven specialty pizzas, The Extreme Supreme —featuring sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, and black and green olives—is the best-loved. What’s new? The roasted asparagus, mushroom, and onion pizza. “We also started a new take and bake service,” says Nicole Montague, Plymouth store manager.
Davanni’s is big on quality and care, but also on community involvement. Their party room is a popular gathering spot for large groups, and their catered pasta feeds are a hit with school sports teams, says Jennifer Endres, assistant manager in Plymouth. The dough is hand-pounded and made fresh multiple times a day. Choose from thin, traditional, Chicago- style deep dish, or 10-inch gluten-free crust options, which can be topped with red sauce, a white olive oil sauce or a combination of the two called “pink sauce.” The menu features six specialty pizzas. The most popular is The Works, a combination of pepperoni, sausage, hamburger, mushrooms, and onions.
BROADWAY BAR & PIZZA
Kids love the train going around the restaurant, and adults can play a little bingo or pull tabs,” says Tiffany Downing, marketing coordinator. But it’s the secret sauce, special recipe sausage and freshly rolled dough baked into award-winning original thin, whole wheat thin, New York-style, and Broadway-style deep dish they truly take pride in. The Classic Deluxe is top seller, a combination of cheese, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, green pepper, and onion. Add shrimp and you’ve got another favorite—the Eddie’s Extra Special.
Make Your Own Pizza
Sometimes you just want to stay home. Frozen pizzas are great in a pinch, but nothing says “cozy” like making your own.
Fresh pizza dough is available at many grocery stores. Whole Foods in Minnetonka sells containers of raw dough balls, white and whole wheat, in its deli for $5.99. Each container will make about two 12-inch pizzas, says Lauren Kebschull, local senior marketing specialist and self-described “pizza-making fanatic.”
There are a variety of ways to cook the dough: on the grill, using a hot pizza stone, on the stove, in the oven placed on a pan drizzled with oil or lined with parchment paper are just a few options. “I like to cook it first in a cast iron skillet,” Kebschull says. She recommends sprinkling cornmeal on the bottom of the skillet, then cooking half of the ball at a time stretched out into the pan on medium heat until it bubbles. “Then I turn my stove top off, put my toppings on, and finish baking it in the oven for 10 minutes at 500 degrees.”
You can also find prepackaged dough options in the freezer section, and par baked, pre-rolled crusts in the bakery or near the pasta. Those come in whole wheat, rustic white, 7-grain, and sourdough. While browsing, choose from an array of their house-brand organic sauces.
The sky’s the limit for topping combinations. Kebschull recommends mixing sweet fruits with salty meats, such as peaches and prosciutto, or spreading the crust with Greek hummus in lieu of sauce and topping it with artichokes, feta cheese, olives, and shredded spinach. And for a simple margherita pizza, she suggests trying burrata cheese—a creamier, saltier version of mozzarella—and sweetening the tomatoes by roasting them.
If short on time, grab a container at the salad bar and fill it with all your favorite toppings, from peppers and onions to mushrooms, olives, and cooked chicken—chopped, washed, or shredded and ready to go!
1. The average American eats an average of _____ slices of pizza each year.
2. There are about 3 billion pizzas sold each year in the U.S. How many are sold worldwide?
3. America’s favorite meat topping makes up 36 percent of all orders. What is it?
4. The traditional open-faced pie was introduced in 1889 by Naples’ baker Raffaele Esposito in his efforts to make a patriotic pie featuring colors of the Italian flag. What three toppings did he use?
1. 46 2. 5 billion+ 3. Pepperoni
4. Basil, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella