Jason DeRusha’s Top Pizza Picks

We all have strong opinions about the most popular food
The Parma Pizza at OG Zaza
The Parma Pizza at OG Zaza


We are all pizza experts. We eat pizza more than any other type of food. Some surveys show 1 out of 7 of us is eating pizza on any given day. It’s also the fastest-growing type of restaurant in Minnesota, with new pizza styles and new locations opening every month. My list of favorites is constantly changing, depending on my mood, and is very style-specific. The pizza closest to your home, or freshest out of the oven, often is the best pizza. For me, the key to quality is an intense focus on the basics: dough and sauce. Remember when people used to say you couldn’t get good pizza around here? Now, that’s laughable. It has never been a better time to be a pizza lover.



Cheffy Pizza

Boludo, multiple locations, boludo.com

Nouvelle Kitchen & Brewery, 4124 W. Broadway Ave., Robbinsdale, 763-537-7267, nouvellebrewing.com

Red Rabbit, 201 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis, 612-767-8855, and 788 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-444-5995, redrabbitmn.com

Red Wagon Pizza Company, 5416 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-259-7147, redwagon-mpls.com

Rosalia, 2811 W. 43rd St., Minneapolis, 612-345-5494, rosaliapizza.com

Young Joni, 165 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis, 612-345-5719, youngjoni.com



Jason’s Pick: Sanjusan

33 N. First Ave., Main Floor, Minneapolis, 612-354-7763, sanjusanrestaurant.com

 Red Rabbit and Sanjusan are my two most underrated pizza places in town, both with incredible attention to dough. But for sheer creativity, Sanjusan is my pick. The Isaac Becker, with raw tuna, cilantro, and lime, is my favorite, but how about the Okonomiyaki, with shrimp, cabbage, bonito flakes, and kewpie mayo? Executive chef Peter Thillen is a genius at combining Italian and Japanese flavors in ways you’d think would be strange but captivate instead.

Earl Giles
Earl Giles


Neapolitan, Coal, Wood-Fired

Black Sheep Pizza, 2550 Nicollet Ave. S. and 600 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612-886-1233 and 612-342-2625, blacksheeppizza.com

Northern Fires Pizza, 1839 E. 42nd St., Minneapolis, 612-424-1428, northernfirespizza.com

Pompeii Pizzeria, 315 Jackson Ave., Elk River, 763-633-1222, pompeiipizzeria.net

Punch, multiple locations, 612-223-7200, punchpizza.com

Saint Paul Brewing, 688 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul, 651-698-1945, stpaulbrewing.com

Jason’s Pick: Earl Giles Restaurant and Distillery

1325 Quincy St. NE, Suite 100, Minneapolis, 612-345-5305, earlgiles.com

It’s almost impossible to pick from this section, but right now I’m craving the sourdough pizza at Earl Giles. It has come a long way in consistency and quality: The dough is perfectly balanced with a complex, yeasty aroma, and has an ideal baguette-like combination of crunchy and soft. There are lots of creative topping combos, too, like squash, taleggio, and fried Brussels sprouts on the Animal Lover and chorizo plus roasted poblano cream on the Pizza Indeed.


Broder’s Cucina Italiana, 2308 W. 50th St., Minneapolis, 612-925-3113, broders.com

Cossetta Alimentari, 211 Seventh St. W., St. Paul, 651-222-3476, cossettas.com

Hello Pizza, 3904 Sunnyside Road, Edina, 952-303-4514, hellopizza.com

Snack Bar, 800 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis, 612-383-2848, snackbarmpls.com

Slice Brothers, multiple locations, sliceminneapolis.com 

Jason’s Pick: ElMar’s New York Pizza

15725 37th Ave. N., Plymouth, elmarsnypizza.com

Is it the special system they installed that tries to replicate the flavor notes of New York City water? I don’t know, but there’s a reason people travel to Plymouth from all over the metro to get a slice at ElMar’s. Nicole and Michael ElMaraghy are bringing that big slice, floppy enough to fold but still crisp enough that you get a little crunch-right-out-of-the-oven game. And that is the best way to enjoy ElMar’s: hot, fresh, and by the slice.

OG Zaza
OG Zaza


Specific City Style—New Haven or Detroit

Melt Pizza Company, 112 Main St. N., Stillwater, 651-342-0246, meltpizzacompany.com

Mario’s, 232 Cleveland Ave. N., St. Paul, 651-207-5252, mariosstp.com

Surly Brewing Co., 520 Malcolm Ave. SE, Minneapolis, 763-999-4040, surlybrewing.com

Wrecktangle, 729 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis, 612-695-6525, wrecktanglepizza.com

OG Zaza
OG Zaza


Jason’s Pick: OG Zaza

1595 Highway 36, Roseville, 612-251-5017, ogzazamn.com

Chef Josh Hedquist’s OG Zaza brings obsessive detail over sauce and dough along with a slightly caramelized (almost burned) New Haven-style edge that explodes with flavor. A five-day process of fermenting the dough gives real character to the crispy/chewy crust, cooked at high heat in a rotating pizza oven inside Rosedale’s Potluck food court. The Lil’ Roni is aggressively pepperoni-packed, and the Parma brings a great balance of prosciutto, arugula, and gorgonzola.


Jakeeno’s Pizza & Pasta, 3555 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-825-6827, jakeenos.com

Latuff’s Pizzeria, 10820 Highway 55, Plymouth, 763-545-2914, latuffspizza.com

Skinner’s Pub & Eatery, 919 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, 651-291-0146, skinnersmn.com

Jason’s Pick: Good Times Pizza

322 W. 38th St., Minneapolis, 612-354-3589, goodtimespizzampls.com

There’s something special about Good Times Pizza. The crust is thin and crunchy and square-cut like a good bar pizza should be, but it’s also…more. There’s more flavor and a more exciting end piece with more oomph than you’d expect. Pepperoni and pickle? Yes. It’s amazing. Salt plus fat plus plus plus. White pie with toasted garlic cream as a base, caramelized onions, and roasted mushrooms? Maybe even better. Good Times feels like a pizza place that has been in south Minneapolis forever, despite the fact that it dates to 2020.

Greater Minnesota

Gary’s Pizza, multiple locations, garyspizza.com

Pagliai’s Pizza, 524 S. Front St., Mankato, 507-345-6080, pagliaismankato.com

Pi Wood-Fired Pizza, 3932 Marketplace Dr. NW, Rochester, 507-424-3885, live4pi.com

Sammy’s, multiple locations, mysammys.com

Ursa Minor Brewing, 2415 W. Superior St., Suite B, Duluth, 218-481-7886, ursaminorbrewing.com

Hall of Fame Icons

Broadway Bar & Pizza, multiple locations, broadwaypizza.com

Davanni’s, multiple locations, davannis.com

Pizza Lucé, multiple locations, pizzaluce.com

Red’s Savoy Pizza, multiple locations, savoypizza.com