Lasagna siciliana and penne with gorgonzola
photos by tj turner
Joy: What began as a fortuitous trip to Italy more than 30 years ago launched a family empire of eateries near the intersection of 50th and Penn Avenue.
Jason: Broders’ Cucina is where the empire started in 1982: a small grocery store, Italian deli, and bakery. Molly Broder’s Pasta Bar across the street gets most of the critical love, and her sons Charlie and Thomas are carving out the next generation at the kitty-corner Terzo, but the Cucina is a bit of a hidden gem.
Joy: I’d just love to bottle the smell of this place: tomato sauce, cheese, garlic, and fennel. I went on one of those wicked cold days, and the warm fog of food perfume was heaven-sent.
Jason: I spent less than $5 for a New York-style slice of prosciutto and arugula pizza—excellent dough, beautiful mozzarella. The pizza alone is worth a visit.
Joy: This is where I send my East Coast friends griping about a dearth of good, foldable pizza. We went full-board with the lasagna, my son’s favorite dish: nicely chewy pasta with long reaches of mozzarella draping from his lips to the fork.
Jason: As you’d expect of any self-respecting Italian deli, Broders’ makes its own Italian sausage, and it shows brilliantly on the sausage-and-pepper sandwich. The pomodoro has zip, the mild peppers have great spice, and the homemade baguette supported the giant heaping of meat and sauce quite well.
Joy: You want to talk about meat? What about that meatball sandwich? It’s such a beautiful mess of homey goodness nestled into Italian bread. There’s a lot of life packed into this food.
Jason: Don’t miss the penne with spinach and gorgonzola, so creamy and rich. The take-out options are fabulous: Get a pound of fresh-made pasta for $8 (watch them feed the sheet through the pasta maker), or a full family meal starting at $52. You get pasta for four, a salad, a loaf of bread, and four of the excellent desserts from the bakery.
Joy: Plus, they have delivery, if you’re lucky enough to live in the area.
Broders’ Cucina Italiana Quick Tips
Parking: During lunch, park for free across the street in the lot by Broders’ Pasta Bar.
Wine: Scarpetta red, white, and rosé—we wish they brought in a couple more by-the-glass options from the other restaurants.
Grocery Store: Some of the best selections of authentic Italian pastas and salamis, many unique to Broders’.
Broders’ Cucina Italiana
2308 W. 50th St., Minneapolis, 612-925-3113, broders.com