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.
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of 27 juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.
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.
Paisano’s Pizza's sauce slingers create the menu's specialty thin-crust pizzas, Stromboli, and hoagies. Breadsticks escort 16-inch signature pizzas ($19.99) such as the mediterranean pie, whose artichoke hearts sidle up to olives and feta, and whose sun-dried tomatoes resolve to avoid the sun during their next trip to the beach. The tuscan disk unites canadian bacon and fresh basil, and the taco specialty brims with tortilla chips and seasoned beef under a layer of cheddar. Bright yellow and green walls wrap around group tables, where diners can bite into hoagies ($7.29) and look out wide windows. A high red counter with individual seating supports original, vegetarian, or pepperoni Stromboli ($6.99), and allows guests to bring along their laptops, books, or imaginations.
Few Americans know this, but if a pizzeria has the V.P.N. stamp of approval, they have membership in an elite organization founded by Neapolitan pizzaiolis—that’s right, pizza makers. As a legal entity, it can give special recognition to pizzerias that follow strict guidelines when it comes to building their ovens and preparing their pizzas. By knowing who the Vera Pizza Napoletana is, you can better understand why Punch Neapolitan Pizza could be the best pizza place in Saint Paul. In 1996, John Soranno opened Punch and fulfilled a childhood dream (and probably the unrealized dream of many of his neighbors, too). In 2002, he opened his second restaurant with his business partner, John Puckett. All of the Push locations adhere to the same rules dictated by the Vera Pizza Napolentana, so customers know that when they dine with the Punch family, they are getting an authentic taste of Italy!
For over 50 years, Carbone’s Pizzeria has been treating Twin City residents to delicious food that fills the stomach and warms the spirit. For two generations, Carbone’s Pizzeria has everything from scratch – their dough, their sauce, their Italian sausage topping, even their hand-rolled meatballs. If you’re not in the mood for pizza, Carbone’s can still supply a tasty treat to make your taste buds stand up and sing. Pasta, sandwiches, salads, soups, and appetizers complement the menu and provide appetizing alternatives – and excellent additions – to their signature dish. For the best pizza in St. Paul, Minnesota, visit Carbone’s Pizzeria where their motto is: “Pizza As You Like It!”