There are about a million ways to do pizza.
You’ve got the classic pepperoni, the controversial pineapple and Canadian bacon, and the downright scandalous (but often delicious) cauliflower crust. And though the pizzaverse is vast and varied, one thing is for sure – Southern Minnesota has plenty of options for every craving.
Pagliai’s Pizza in Mankato
524 S Front St
Mankato MN 56001
Sunday through Thursday – 11 AM-11 PM
Friday/Saturday – 11 AM-12 AM
If you’ve ever lived in, been educated in or passed through Mankato, it’s likely you know Pagliai’s, a neighborhood diner-style joint that lays claim as Kato’s oldest pizzeria. Since 1969, this family-owned pizzeria – complete with brown and tan checkered ceilings and wood-paneled walls – has been dishing up delectable pizza pies for locals and visitors alike.
Topped with a thick, luscious layer of cheese, these square-cut pizzas are not your traditional New York-style slice, nor do they mimic Chicago’s cornbread-crusted deep dish. They will, however, satisfy your cheat day cravings.
While the classic pepperoni pizza is always a great option, venture outward and choose from any of their multi-topping pizzas. The ‘Pagliai’s Special,’ generously topped with sausage, green peppers and chopped onions, is sure to suit the fancy of many. Or maybe ‘The Maverick,’ a meat-lovers delight with sausage, beef, pepperoni and Canadian bacon all topped with cheese. If you’re really looking to indulge, try ‘The Works,’ a nine-ingredient utopia topped with four different types of meat and an onslaught of veggies – for health benefits, you know?
Red Barn Farm in Northfield
10063 110th St E
Northfield, Minnesota 55057
May-October (open Wednesdays and the third Sunday of each month)
A Minnesotan farm-to-table experience, the Red Barn Farm is a beautiful, 100-year-old barn set amid the grassy green pastures of Northfield. Their weekly “pizza nights” – which begin in May and end in late October – give us more reasons to look forward to Hump Day. Reservations are not needed – though being open one night a week does mean it gets quite busy – so be prepared to queue up.
The pizza – which is handed over in a 16” box – is made with homemade, vegan-friendly dough. Choose any toppings you wish, from their generous array of chemical-free garden veggies (grown on their own farm!) and meats. Onions, peppers, squash, spinach, eggplant, tomatoes, basil – you name it. One thing is certain – Red Barn Farm doesn’t shy from the untraditional. From winter specials topped with squash and roasted garlic, to everyone’s college Mac N’ Cheese favorite, they’ve got pizza-making down.
The catch? You provide everything but the pizza. Napkins, plates, utensils, copious amounts of ranch dressing, and alcohol is a good place to start. Then, get to enjoying your delicious homemade pizza as you sway to the tunes of local musicians in the sweet Minnesota sun.
Red Wing Brewery in Red Wing
1411 Old W Main St
Red Wing, MN 55066
Tuesday – Thursday: 4-9 PM
Friday/Saturday: 12-10 PM
Sunday 12-8 PM
Often crowned the best brewpub in Southern Minnesota, Red Wing Brewery is no newbie to crispy, delicious pizza. Located in the old brewery district just a hop, skip, and a jump from the original Red Wing Brewery, their rotating in-house tap selection is the perfect complement to a cheesy pie or calzone.
Speaking of calzones – Red Wing Brewery makes a mean one. Stuffed with rich ricotta and pizza toppings of your choice, they’re a meaty (no pun intended) option for anyone carrying an XL appetite. Pizzas are 8” or 16” – read, personal or family size – with a handmade crust using brewing grains by Red Wing’s Hanisch Bakery. Sauce it up with your choice of tomato or garlic white sauce and a substantial helping of 100 percent whole milk mozzarella. If you’re going specialty pizza here, be sure to try the Korean-inspired ‘za topped with K-Mama sauce, mozzarella, chicken, shredded carrots and celery.
Basil’s Pizza Palace in Northfield
301 S. Water St
Northfield, MN 55057
Sunday – Thursday 5-10 PM
Friday/Saturday 5 PM-12 AM
One college town staple is a small, late-night spot that does pizza right – for Northfield’s Oles and Knights, that place is Basil’s Pizza Palace.
The owners – who emigrated from Greece in 1956 – quickly perfected their own version of pizza making. Though it’s not your traditional pizza – cut in squares on your preferred thickness of crust – it’s darn tasty. The family uses fresh ingredients and the same secret sauce that’s topped their pizzas since the 50’s. The locals gravitate towards the thin crust, and – with names like Athens, Olympus, Greek Popeye, and Roma – Greek-influenced pies seem to be a popular (and scrumptious) choice.
Though it’s no longer a fixture on the menu, one hidden secret is the Gyro pizza … jury’s out on that one, but be sure to pop in and give it a try! Shaved gyro meat and tzatziki sauce tastes good on just about anything.
Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm in Waseca
41142 160th Street
Waseca, MN 56093
May and October: Open Sundays
June – September: Thursdays (4 – 8 PM) Sundays (1 – 7 PM)
Pizza farms are gaining steady ground these days, especially in Southern Minnesota. And set blissfully atop the land of a 55-acre farm in rural Waseca is yet another barn with a wood-fired oven, serving up a delicious dining experience in the great Minnesota outdoors.
Whether it’s date night or a day out with the fam, Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm is the perfect spot. Kids will enjoy the wide-open spaces, filled with tractors and farm animals, while adults can spend time lazing on the grass with a cold brew (it’s BYOB!) and live music.
Though the pizzas do err on the pricier side ($20-25) they are loaded with artisan toppings. If you can take the heat, try the “Ole” – a pie topped with red sauce, pepperoni, salami, prosciutto, mozzarella, and (not too) hot banana peppers. For those with more experimental tastes, the “Sweet Georgia Pie” – with its garlic olive oil base, prosciutto, arugula, goat cheese, mozzarella, and drizzling of Hannah’s honey – is sure to win over your heart. And stomach.
Goodfellas Pizza in Lakeville
20643 Kenrick Ave
Lakeville, MN 55044
Monday-Thursday: 11AM-11 PM
Friday/Saturday: 11 AM-12:30 AM
Sunday: 12-9 PM
Goodfella’s Pizza has got that late night diner feel goin’ on – that local, family-owned, laidback kind of feel. Their pizzas, greasy and loaded to perfection with all the toppings you’ve ever dreamed of – and possibly never dreamed of – are just a slice of their massive menu.
For starters, there’s the Tater Tot Hot Dish pizza, which is about as Minnesotan as it gets. In case you’re not familiar with the popular Midwest casserole, that’s going to include tots, a cream of mushroom soup base, cheese and green beans. If you’re of the mindset that green beans do not belong on pizza, we recommend going with the classic Margherita or Veggie.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Volcano Pizza – a molten 5-cheese blend topped with ground beef, jalapeno bacon, onion tanglers, and chipotle sauce. It’ll set your mouth on fire, but not your wallet. These specialty toppings get you 14” of goodness for less than $20. Win-win.
Jakes Stadium Pizza in St. Peter and Mankato
119 Broadway Ave
St Peter, MN 56082
Sunday – Thursday: 11 AM – 9 PM
Friday/Saturday: 11 AM – 10 PM
330 Stadium Rd
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00 AM– 10 PM
Friday and Saturday: 11 AM– 11 PM
For over 50 years, Jake’s Stadium Pizza has been dishing up the same family recipes handed down from generation to generation. Now open in both Mankato and St. Peter, locals flock to Jake’s for the neighborhood friendliness and well-priced pizza pies.
Their za’s – available in thin and thick crust – are no frills … and no napkin blotting, at that. If you like meat, you’ll love their specials. The “Jake’s Special,” loaded with Italian sausage and pepperoni and the “House Special,” topped with Italian sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and ground beef, provide a hefty dose of meat for some pretty solid pricing (less than $20 for a large!)
The best part? There’s always some sort of special going on!
Boondocks Bar & Grill in Janesville
115 N Main St
Janesville, MN 56048
Monday-Saturday: 11AM-1 AM
Sunday: 11 AM-12 AM
Looking for a place with great Happy Hour specials, sinfully cheesy pizzas, and HD big screens to watch the Vikes? Well, look no further than Boondocks Bar and Grill. It’s got that small-town vibe and they own it, enticing locals with Tuesday family nights, where 20 bucks gets you an extra-large two-topping pizza, large soda and dessert.
The pizzas keep it simple, but who said pizza needs to be fancy to taste good? On the wilder side is their German pizza – essentially an open-faced brat topped with sauerkraut, sausage and Thousand Island dressing as the base. For a classic meat-filled supreme pizza, try “The Dockside.” Settle in at the bar and we guarantee you’ll leave with a full belly and possibly some new friends.
A Taste of the Big Apple in Owatonna
104 W Broadway St
Owatonna, Minnesota 55060
Monday – Wednesday: 10 AM -2 PM, 4-8 PM
Thursday: 10 AM – 2 PM, 4-9 PM
Friday/Saturday: 10 AM – 2 PM, 4-10 PM
Though it’s miles and miles away from the Big Apple, Owatonna is definitely hitting the nail on the head with their traditional handmade New York-style pizzas.
Order a whole pie (12” or 16”) or just by the slice – great for those who just can’t seem to remember their leftovers. The Fajita Pizza, topped with chicken, green peppers & onion, and fajita sauce, is a great Tex-Mex inspired pie. If you’re craving a more traditional pizza, the Combo comes loaded with crisp pepperoni, sausages, chopped onions and mushrooms. They’ve also got Buffalo Chicken, Spinach Alfredo, and Cheeseburger pies … try a slice of each, we won’t judge!
Weekly specials are written on a whiteboard in the restaurant and posted on their Facebook page – so, if you want the low down before you go, be sure to pop on over to their site!
Basilleo’s in Faribault
108 4th St NW
Faribault, Minnesota 55021
Sunday – Thursday 4pm-10pm
Friday and Saturday 4pm-11pm
Basilleo’s, which reopened recently after a brief hiatus, is back – and the recipes haven’t changed one bit!
They’ve got all your old favorites. Buffalo Chicken. California Chicken. Pork Lovers. Taco. At Basilleo’s, it’s not a pizza unless it’s got meat – if you’re a vegetarian, don’t let that steer you away. BYO pizza and choose from an assortment of sauces – from tangy BBQ to garlic butter to traditional marinara – and any vegetable you’d ever want … on a pizza, at least.
The pizzas are offered in five different sizes – mini, small, medium, large and XL. Did we mention they deliver?
By Meghan Rook