My recent posting about Sauced, the new neighborhood bistro in north Minneapolis brought some enthusiastic comments from neighbors, and a slightly disgruntled note from Mick Brogan, owner of the nearby Papa’s Pizza & Pasta.
“We have been on the corner of 42nd and Thomas for 3 years and are still the best kept secret in Minneapolis. We offer East Coast Italian American cuisine and have quite the following. However getting the word out that we are here is a full time job. When you mention other restaurants in the area and not us it sure doesn’t help. We offer food and service that is 2nd to none …. Stop by sometime and see what we have to offer.”
So, let me apologize for the oversight. I did visit Papa’s Pizza and Pasta three years ago, and I liked it a lot. It’s your basic, no frills mom and pop pizzeria. These kinds of places used to be staples in every neighborhood a generation ago, but the relentless march of the Pizza Huts and Dominos have driven them to the edge of extinction. Locally – I can only think of Jakeeno’s, Dulono’s and the Pizza Shack, but I am sure that disgruntled pizzeria owners will remind me of a few more.
At the time. Papa’s seemed to be facing an enormous uphill struggle. The average lifespan of a north Minneapolis restaurant seems to be under a year, and Pizza Papa’s had had a couple of incidents of vandalism – the big glass windows had been smashed a couple of times.
Continued advertisement Join Peace Coffee for the Minnesota Sur Seine Music Festival
I stopped back last night and ordered the spaghetti with meatballs, a classic rendition, served in a generous portion with garlic bread and four meatballs for $10.59. And I took home a 16″ pizza deluxe, topped with sausage, pepperoni, onions, green peppers and mushrooms – big enough to serve four for $17.49. (Smaller pies are available, but this is the best value.) Both were first-rate. This is authentic East Coast Italian-American – just like in New Jersey – there is even a little tribute to Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack on the walls. A full lineup of hoagies and sandwiches is also available, plus a decent low-end wine list.
Three years later, Papa’s Pizza seems to be thriving. There’s a nice little sidewalk patio in front of the restaurant, and the Brogans recently added a deli, offering everything from fresh Italian sausage, imported cheeses, pasta and olive oil to bread, snacks and Italian gelato – the only deli of its kind for miles around.
The nice thing about this neighborhood mom-and-pop pizzeria is that this mom and pop really do try to be part of the neighborhood. Kris Brogan – Mick’s wife, is on the Victory Neighborhood Livability Committee, and the Brogans are big supporters of the nearby Workhouse Theater.