Pizza in Maplewood

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More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half-century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.

1688 White Bear Ave N
Maplewood,
MN
US

Everyday at Eden Pizza, the kitchen buzzes with activities that are crucial to each pizza’s tempting taste. Behind the scenes, the eatery’s team routinely chops fresh veggies for toppings and makes fresh dough from scratch. Diners can order pizzas with traditional toppings such as sausage, pepperoni, and green peppers, or taste the culinary creativity in specialty pizzas such as the Gunslinger with hot sauce, pickles, banana peppers, and a holster for each slice. Aside from pizza, visitors can also take a bite out of salads, chicken wings doused in 15 different sauces, and cool breezes, if they’re eating outside on the patio.

629 Aldine St
Saint Paul,
MN
US

The cooks at Restaurante La Laguna craft housemade Mexican dishes each day. They fill 14-inch flour tortillas with meats, mozzarella cheese, and fresh salsa for their signature burritos, and they serve skirt-steak strips with onions, tomato, and jalapeños to create another specialty, bistec a la Mexicana.

441 Robert St S
Saint Paul,
MN
US

Though Little Venetian opened in 2002, the family behind the operation has been treating locals to Italian flavors since 1928, when Mama and Papa Vitale opened a modest vegetable stand. Now, decades later, diners can enjoy their fresh produce whipped up into hearty meals, made in accordance with Vitale family recipes. Pastas and pizzas come coated in slow-cooked marinara or alfredo sauces, and plates of chicken parmigiano and Italian sausage warm forks and souls with homemade flavor.

2900 Rice St
Little Canada,
MN
US

After modeling their first eatery, ROMA Restaurant, after the Roman Empire, Chef Brent Pilrain and his family opted to try something new, setting their sights on a colonial American theme. So when the family was greeted with the opportunity to open up a new kitchen in Liberty Village, the birth of Patriots Tavern seemed like kismet. Today, Chef Pilrain keeps up the colonial theme in both cuisine and décor, churning out a menu of New England–inspired fare and wood-oven-fired pizzas within a whitewashed mansion. Rich mahogany and stone details create a warm yet spacious interior dabbled with American flags and historical knickknacks, such as lanterns and George Washington’s original set of wooden press-on nails.

145 New England Pl
Stillwater,
MN
US

It started with a single store, opened in Fridley, Minnesota in 1964. But Dick Kempe's pizza proved too tasty for one outpost, and Chanticlear Pizza eventually spread to 14 locations in the following years. And although Dick no longer owns the pizzerias, his uncompromising standards for quality pies remain in place. Fresh dough is mixed up and hand-tossed daily. Vegetables are chopped each morning. Instead of adding sugar to their sauce, the chefs rely on the tomatoes' natural, charm school-perfected sweetness. And the from-scratch foundation is always topped with house-shredded, 100% Wisconsin mozzarella cheese.

Once the dough and sauce are ready, Chanticlear Pizza's chefs continue the process by loading them with meats and veggies. The selection of toppings range from shrimp and bacon pieces to a secret-recipe pickle blend. A splash of spicy, bourbon-tinged molasses or chunky salsa can add additional pizzazz to pizzas. Beyond circular eats, polygonal dishes as pastas, calzones, and sides of buffalo wings and garlic toast populate the menu.

9428 36th Ave N
Minneapolis,
MN
US