I consider myself an authoritative scholar of the pizza arts, but until 30 minutes ago, I’d never heard of a Minnesota-style pizza. A recent story in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press noted that a well-known chain in the Twin Cities called Red’s Savoy Pizza had laid claim to a state-sanctioned pizza style—which must be legally pronounced with that elongated Upper Midwest patois as: ’sota-style.
The Pioneer-Press story described the Minnesota style as such:
A thin crust, square cut, loads of toppings cheese and a spicy “passive-aggressive” sauce.
My severe allergy to bullshit compelled me to investigate, and by investigate I mean a cursory ask around the office and a few texts to Minnesota food writer friends. Here are the results of my half-hour of research:
- People really like Red’s Savoy! It received the thumbs-up from three friends with Minnesota roots.
- The chain’s parking lot gained notoriety in 2006 as the place where former Senator Norm Coleman’s 81-year-old father was caught with a prostitute.
- As for the legitimacy of an actual Minnesota style of pizza? One colleague who lived there for many years stated: “That’s just their marketing, it’s not actually a thing. Nobody in Minnesota would consider there to actually be such a thing, or use that phrase.”
- Brett Anderson, the restaurant critic for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and Minnesota native, told me what he knows of a Minnesota-style pizza is a pie that’s cut into squares. When I informed him that such a pie exists outside the Upper Midwest, such as in Chicago and St. Louis (the criss-cross configuration is called the “party cut”), Anderson responded: “People in Illinois and St. Louis who think that’s their style can kiss my Swedish ass.”
- Anderson went on to say that he doesn’t know of a specific ingredient unique to Minnesota, but he has noticed that “there is a lot of cheese on the kinds of Minnesota pies under discussion here.”
- I called up Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, from his St. Louis Park, Minnesota-based offices. Here’s a word-for-word transcription of our conversation:
The Takeout: Andrew, is there such thing as Minnesota-style pizza?
Andrew Zimmern: Fuck no.
Any Minnesotans care to elaborate/defend?