Our 2018 Pizza Bracket Winner: Sammy’s Pizza & Restaurant

Some 20,000 votes later, this is 2018’s best pizza place in Minnesota

The winner of Minnesota Monthly’s inaugural Pizza Bracket Challenge is Sammy’s Pizza & Restaurant. A family institution since 1954, Sammy’s has 15 locations across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Each one serves up homemade pies, based on founder Sam Perrella’s original recipes, that are cut into bite-sized squares—an idea Perrella developed in Sammy’s original Hibbing location. It helped get curious passersby peeking in his shop window to try food that, at the time, was still unfamiliar. There are even stories of guitar-toting Hibbing legend Bob Dylan visiting Sammy’s in his teens. “In those early years, when people would try the pizza, Sam would always say, ‘Yep, you’re the first one,’” says Louisa Brooks, one of Perrella’s grandchildren and co-owner of the Coon Rapids and Elk River locations. “And we’ve heard that from so many customers.”

Photo by TJ Turner

Rising from a competitive field of 32 prized Minnesota pizza establishments, Sammy’s defeated Pizza Lucé in the finals to take the trophy. More than 20,000 votes were cast online by Minnesota Monthly readers. “This is special because the people across Minnesota voted,” says Joe Perrella, also a co-owner in Coon Rapids and Elk River. “Even our 96-year-old grandma. This restaurant is her legacy.”

Photo by TJ Turner

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