Is there anything better than sitting outside with an ice cream cone on a hot summer day? This ritual gives us a moment to pause, to...
The 10 best pizza places in the Twin Cities
Thin crust, deep dish, hand-tossed, wood-fired, square cut. Sicilian, Neapolitan, New York style. Extra sauce, extra cheese — you know — obscenely gooey, please!
Pizza. What’s not to love?
Arguably the most perfect food in the world, it’s a complete meal, the ultimate comfort food, a crowd pleaser, a treat — worthy of worship and adoration. Even bad pizza is really pretty good.
And pizza is the quintessential family food. It’s hard to find a kid who doesn’t like pizza (we know they’re out there, though) and it’s a heck-of-a-lot more parent friendly than nuggets or mac. It goes well with beer. It pairs well with wine. It’s great left over. It’s great cold! Easily shared, easily served, blissfully devoured.
In celebration of the Great Cheese and Tomato Pie, we’ve come up with a fresh-baked list of the 10 best pizza places for families on the go in the Twin Cities. Enjoy!
This is Chicago-style pizza on steroids, a rite of passage for any pizza-loving kid. Named Chicago’s best pizza by the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NBC and basically everyone, Giordano’s sauce-topped pizzas take the term “pie” to a whole new level.
But did you know the chain also makes a super-thin crust pizza, which is also a Windy City tradition? Yep. Chicago thin — aka Chicago tavern-style thin — is the B-side to that ubiquitous deep dish and can be more approachable for kids.
Photo courtesy of Giordano’s
Eagan, Woodbury, Blaine, Savage
No, this isn’t a pizza joint, but it does boast a wood-fired oven for making all kinds of good food, including delicious pizza pies, featuring crust with those amazing airy, doughy bubbles and a crispy, golden exterior.
Bonfire gets our nod for tasty cocktails and apps, plus a make-your-own pizza experience for the kids. A server escorts littles up to the cooking counter to create their own meals. It’s delightful, keeps them busy and gives them a sense of accomplishment when their piping hot creations finally emerge from the oven.
The cherry on top? Bonfire follows this act with a make-your-own sundae bar with sprinkles, fudge, the works.
Photo courtesy of Bonfire
8 Twin Cities locations
Fresh, real and “gourmet” without being stuffy, Luce offers something for everyone. Kids love the bready, hand-tossed crust, and parents love the outside-the-box, fusion-cuisine and seasonal options, including the Baked Potato Pizza (!), the Fire Breathing Dragon (with jerk chicken and sweet chili sauce) and The Bear (ALL the meats), plus gluten-free and/or vegan versions of most menu items. And don’t overlook the salads here, or the Peking wings.
Special shout-out to the sunny patio at the Roseville location and the stellar Mother’s Day brunch, which includes free Mom-osas for every well-deserving mama.
Photo courtesy of Pizza Luce
Our scene begins in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood, where Spandex-clad, caped heroes deliver locally and sustainably sourced meals in eco-friendly boxes by electric car. Super-cool, super-Uptown, super-hero and space-age-inspired, Galactic pizza will have the kids hooked at first glimpse of the 3D menus, made readable with red and blue 3D glasses. Bonus: Vegan and gluten-free options abound, plus pastas for pizzaphobes.
Though usually only the delivery drivers are dressed up, a trip to Galactic is an adventure in and of itself, a magical finishing touch to a day at the lakes.
Galactic’s values-led, “planet-saving” mission is a dinner out you can feel good about, too!
Photo courtesy of Galactic Pizza
Nestled in the Como Park neighborhood and State Fair adjacent, this gem occupies the old Java Train location, once the blessed home of a mommy group meetup of the same name. But now the place is home to the best crust and sauce ever, plus split bottles of prosecco. Even more to love about Delicata: The Big Mixed Salad (marinated tomatoes, egg, gigande beans, prosciutto, fontina, toasted almonds), a famous Coconut Cake, Drunken Cheese Bread (white wine, prosciutto, red onion, fontina, asiago) and the lovely, unassuming patio.
Kid options include PB&J, grilled cheese and “pizzettas.” Make it a day with a trip to Como Zoo, Como Town or Como Lake!
Photo courtesy of Delicata
Yes, we’re skipping to dessert. Grand Pizza at the site of Grand Ole Creamery offers yummy pizza, including fun, creative pies such as Buffalo Chicken Salad and Welcome to the Jungle (veggies and pesto) — and amazing calzones, too. But the real treat is, of course, the ice cream. It’s iconic, award-winning, a Minnesota State Fair staple. And you might remember the newsworthy crowd the ice cream parlor drew when President Barack Obama stopped in for a cone.
Grand manufactures its own flavors — 200 of them, though only 31 are available per day — and offers a signature Whopper-at-the-bottom homemade malted waffle cone. So, yeah: Save room for dessert.
Grand Ole Creamery’s second location near Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis offers its own set of flavors, but no pizza yet.
Photo courtesy of Grand Pizza
For those of you who object to the word “thin” being anywhere near a pizza, this one’s for you. Authentically Italian-American, this joint feels like a little slice of the Bronx. You can’t go wrong with the sausage pizza (all the pizzas are perfectly cheesy by default) or the simple, but gigantic homemade twisty breadsticks (baked with garlic herb butter and a bit of parm). They’re only $2.99 each, but one is enough to feed even a big kid, especially when it’s dipped in a sweet side of marinara (included).
Loud and proud murals line both the interior and exterior walls and the tablecloths are covered with butcher paper, perfect for crayon unicorns or a game of hangman. Make room in your belly and in your day for homemade gelato, followed by (or preceded by) a little paddle boarding on Lake Nokomis.
Photo courtesy of Fat Lorenzo’s
30 Twin Cities locations
This is your hometown pizza chain for a reason. The secret to their success is darn good pizza. Cracker-crisp thin crust, loaded with toppings and sauce with a kick. It’s addictive pizza; pizza that makes you feel. Carbone’s pizza comes in square-cut, four-bite slices, perfect for little hands.
Each location has a bit of a different feel, but the vibe is always “neighborhood.” You’ll see the school principal at your local Carbone’s — your Zumba teacher and the dad you make small talk with while your daughters take tap class. Various Carbone’s locations offer recreation in the form of pool, darts, arcade games, pinball, trivia nights and poker nights — local-to-the-core family fun.
Photo courtesy of Carbone’s
Enormous, must-fold-to-handle, floppy New York slices are alive and well at Cossetta’s. But this is no run-of-the-mill Manhattan “by the slice” joint. It’s a St. Paul institution, opened in 1911 by an actual Italian immigrant.
Eventually, Cossetta Alimentari expanded to create a true Italian marketplace with the classic pizzeria, a formal ristorante, a pasticceria, a gelatoria and traditional Italian grocery. Take the kids. Linger. Enjoy old-world everything and go on a treasure hunt for treats. This is culinary experience meets education. Buon appetito!
Photo by Jason Branson
12 locations across the Twin Cities
This is classic, Neapolitan pizza, inspired by travels to Italy, friendship and love of food. Born in the mid-90s — well before its time, in St. Paul’s Highland Park — it’s an ideal pizza place for kids.
You’ll find fluffy crusts, imbued with the freshest ingredients, including olive oil and crushed tomatoes (and add-your-own toppings galore) — all ready in 60 seconds, thanks to each location’s 900-degree wood-fired oven, cranking out kid-size pizzas faster than you can say, “Bambini!”
Carb conscious? Must-try salads here include the mixed-greens Punch and the arugula-festooned Rocket. And don’t forget the Chocolate Hazelnut Panini (think Nutella quesadilla but WAY better), served hot.
Photo by Tracy Walsh Photography
Don’t see your family’s fave?
Give us a piece of your mind below.
Jen Wittes is a mom of two who lives in St. Paul. Having lived in Sicily for three years, she knows good pizza!
Connect with us