Minneapolis’ pizza scene

Punch Pizza: Old Faithful

As dough flies and cheese sizzles, Punch Neopolitan Pizza buzzes in a warm atmosphere.  Their wood-burning oven creates a melting sensation of cheese and toppings on top of thin crust, cooking a pizza that is is light in the stomach.

     If you are looking for a more vegetable-filled option, the pizzas can be customized with fresh vegetable toppings, not to mention spectacular salad options. My favorite salad is the Punch salad where salt from the pine nuts and prosciutto compliment the sweetness of the balsamic vinaigrette and are topped off with some freshly grated parmesan. The caesar salad is also very good with a thicker dressing, but a much lighter texture of salad. Every salad comes with a couple slices of freshly baked, oregano-sprinkled focaccia bread that are a nice compliment to the meal.

     Additionally, the atmosphere at punch is just as good as the food. The restaurant is filled with conversation, music, and the sound of a wood-crackling fire. When the weather is nice, there’s a patio outside where you can enjoy pizzas and salads in the sun.

     Punch also serves Izzy’s Ice Cream for a perfectly sweet dessert that contrasts with the savory, salty, and hearty pizza. The only downside of Punch is that the wait for fresh pizzas can be lengthy due to the restaurant’s popularity.

Mesa Pizza: Getting Experimental

Located in Uptown Minneapolis and in Dinkytown, Mesa Pizza is a promising option for anyone seeking unique flavor combinations.

     For example, Mesa offers chicken pesto pizza, gyro pizza, avocado pizza, and taco pizza, along with basics such as pepperoni, sausage, and cheese. However, Mesa’s pasta pizzas are a rite of passage. Though they offer lasagna and penne pizza, the macaroni & cheese pizza trumps all. It’s simply two wonderful things coming together for an even more wonderful thing.

     Mesa still remains a great choice for those who aren’t adventurous when it comes to food. Additionally, the parlor makes a vegan pizza. As a neighbor to Uptown stores and in little distance from school, Mesa’s location provides a convenient shopping break and after-school snack.

Element Pizza: A disappointing newbie

If you’re ever thinking “Wow. You know what I could go for? Some really average pizza.” Look no further than Element Wood Fire Pizza.

       I was prompted by several glowing Yelp reviews to head to Northeast Minneapolis in hopes to find inspiration for my “Best Pizza in Minneapolis” blurb- how wrong I was. This quaint pizzeria is set in a former dentist’s office–the charming quaintness barely upstaged the claustrophobic atmosphere. Element serves wood fired, Neapolitan pizza with underwhelming sauce and overwhelming amounts of grease on top of a substantial crust which manages to balance the other lackluster aspects.

      What makes Element so disappointing is that it has the potential to have the mozzarella-ey deliciousness of a Margherita we’re all too familiar with from stars like Punch and Pizza Lola, but instead falls short. If you’re in a crunch, you might as well take it from my father who simply stated, “It’s a five and half out of ten. Maybe a six. We probably should’ve just ordered Davanni’s.”

Galactic Pizza: Funky delivery

Galactic Pizza has been a favorite in my family for a number of years. They are most well known for delivery, but they have a fun 50’s-themed restaurant conveniently located in Uptown, recently deemed “The Most Whimsical Restaurant in Minnesota” by onlyinyourstate.com.

     While the pizza is phenomenal, the best part of the Galactic experience is receiving your order; the delivery-people drive 3-wheeled scooter-car hybrids and arrive dressed as out-of-this world superheros. The atmosphere is down-to-Earth, and they have a big focus on getting ingredients from sustainable sources as well as limiting their carbon footprint. Galactic’s creative business model and and funky vibe has landed it 10th on Buzzfeed’s “The 51 Best American College Towns For Pizza Lovers” list.

     If you are looking for a change of pace from the popular chain pizza restaurants, Galactic is a great place to find something new.

Slice of New York: A reliable go-to

When you walk into A Slice of New York Pizzeria located on Eat Street, you are immediately greeted by the warm smell of pizza and the friendly smile of a staff member turning out fresh slices. The neon Statue of Liberty sign serves as a beacon drawing you towards a utopia of perfect New York-style slices.

     While all their variations of pizza are delicious, the classic cheese or pepperoni slice is a promising way to go. After shelling out $3.50 a slice (or if you want to go all the way, $10.99 for a full pizza) the glorious piece is quickly tossed into a oven to reheat and crisp up to perfection. The pizza is then plated and presented as a steaming, thin-crusted, delicately seasoned slice.

     Each bite is packed with flavor and the crust is crispy up to the last bite. Some sogginess can occur once more as toppings are added, but it barely takes away from the overall experience. If you are looking for the classic slice that hits every mark, A Slice of New York is the place to go.

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