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 leftover. 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
If you are looking for something different, Johnny Boys is it! They have some of the most unique pizza choices we have ever heard of. Buffalo Chicken Tender pizza, Gyro pizza, Sweet Garlic Chili Tender pizza, this list goes on and we can’t wait to keep trying them! They also have sandwiches, salads, hamburgers, hot dogs and the JUST added an ice cream bar inside their shop. When our family decides it’s going to be pizza night, we always know where the kids are going to pick. Johnny Boys!
Plus, they were the best during COVID, they stayed open and continued to serve the community during the height of the pandemic and were given so many shout-outs for going above and beyond! Make sure to add them to your list to try!
Photo courtesy of Google
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
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.
Element pizza is a small but oh-so-good wood-fired pizza shop. Located right off of Broadway in NE Mpls it can be easy to miss. They have won over all our hearts with their amazing pizza selection and we always stop anytime we are in the neighborhood. Make sure to check out their specials as we have never been disappointed. Also, click on the link to their website and it will make you feel all warm and cozy inside, you know it’s going to be good just by their homepage!
Don’t see your family’s fave? Give us a piece of your mind below.
Featured image provided by Tracy Walsh Photography.