Friday, January 20, 2012
Mesa Pizza – Minneapolis, MN (Dinkytown)
D.Rough and I had heard about this “incredible pizza” place in Dinkytown from a number of people. Yes, this place had won a couple of awards for its food, but it’s pizza – how different could it be? But we were in that neck of the woods, so I surprised D.Rough by going there.
When you walk in, there’s a giant sign on the wall with all of the different kinds of pizzas they make there. It isn’t a normal pizza ingredient list. These people are very creative – and not in a bad way. They have enough different varieties (many with hilarious names) that you could go back twenty times and never try the same slice twice. As I was looking at the menu on the wall, the guy working behind the counter told me to just ignore that list and come look at what they’ve currently got out on the counter. He told me the one pizza they don’t have out there is the one I’m going to pick. I have no idea which one they didn’t have because it looks like they have them all. There are at least twenty different types of slices at any given moment – each one better than the last.
Mesa is a slice place. They do sell large 20” pizzas, but I am guessing they really make their money on slices, being in the bar district of Dinkytown (by the U of MN).Lots of student-aged people were rolling in and rolling out of this place, so it does a pretty good business, obviously. The slices re large, so D.Rough and I decided to each pick one slice and then we’d split them. The guy offered to split them down the middle for us, so I’m guessing this is pretty common.
Now to decide on one slice out of a TON of slices is no easy feat. In fact, it was difficult. We eventually decided on the Southern Gentleman and the Pepperoni-Salami slices. The guy takes your order and then whips around and finishes the half-cooked pizzas off in the many ovens he has. You pay and then wait for a minute or two and your pizza gets serviced to you on paper plates. The waiting for the delicious pizza is the hard part – standing there smelling everyone else’s pizza cooking is torture. It’s worth the wait though.
The Pepperoni-Salami pizza has pepperoni and hard salami slices on it, and the whole thing is drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Absolutely amazing. I’ve not had pizza with these toppings on it and I would highly recommend trying it. It was terrific. The slices are HOT, so you have to contemplate scalding the inside of your mouth or waiting in tortured anticipation while it cools – you decide. I suggest waiting, but I’m a delicate flower. You can taste the pepperoni and the salami and neither get lost in the mix. Awesome slice of pizza!
The Southern Gentleman is Cajun chicken, mashed potatoes, bacon, and cheddar cheese. I’ve had some backed and mashed potato pizzas before, but this was better than any I had tried before. It was pretty spectacular. The Cajun chicken was Minnesota-spicy, so not at all, but the flavor was quite good. The bacon was delicious and the potatoes weren’t overpowering like they sometimes get at other place. Seriously. Awesome.
It was a major struggle talking ourselves out of getting additional slice. We could have probably done another two each, but we had places to go and other things to do, so we decided against it. We will go back here, without question. I think you’ll figure out why people talk about this place. It’s proof you CAN actually do interesting things with pizza and pull it off with flare. Thanks for changing my mind about this particular topic.
Top 5 things about Mesa Pizza
1. Southern Gentleman
3. Amazingly awesome menu
4. They’re open plenty late AND they deliver (with reason)
5. Really nice and helpful people
Bottom 5 things
1. You WILL burn your face off if you try to eat it right out of the oven
2. You may have to search a few tables to find the parmesan and red peppers
3. Not every pizza on the menu is available by the slice ALL the time (just mostly)
4. The menu is so huge, you WILL have trouble deciding
5. It isn’t upscale and I know people are expecting upscale pizza these days – get over it