It's a universal truth: There’s no such thing as bad pizza. Sure, some places do it better than others, but what’s not to like about bread, tomato sauce and cheese? Good thing for us, Minnesota pizza joints know what good pizza is, and what’s more, they know how to deliver (both literally and figuratively speaking). ¶ So, if you’re feeding a group, why not go for the sure thing—the thing that everyone loves, or at the very least, likes? Pizza!
It’s all about the pizza pie at this Parasole restaurant, which opened in Edina in November 2010. Made with hand-stretched dough and house-made mozzarella, all pizzas are cooked to perfection in a wood-fired oven. “It’s fantastic,” says Bayley Tweten, private dining manager. “It makes a really crispy, bubbly crust.”
Mozza Mia’s party room, decorated with checkered tablecloths, channels a traditional Italian family kitchen. The completely private room, fully equipped with its own sound system, drop-down screen and projector, lends itself to a variety of room setups: choose from The Meeting, The Dinner Party, The Gathering, The Classroom, The Cocktail Party or The Presentation floor plans, which can accommodate as few as seven guests, or as many as 78 seated or 125 standing. Tweten also works with groups to make planning seamless, coordinating flower arrangements and balloons.
There’s no charge to reserve the room— only a food and beverage minimum (which varies with the time and day of the week). The food, like antipasti platters and handrolled pasta dishes, is served in large familystyle portions and customized to each group. Ingredients are fresh and the dressing is made in-house, but you’d be remiss to not try the pizza. “[Our pizza is] so good that you can’t miss out. … There’s personal touch in every pizza,” says Tweten.
Black Sheep Pizza
Black Sheep Pizza prides itself as the first coal-fired pizza place in Minnesota. From its 10 specialty pizzas, the No. 4 (meatball, ricotta and garlic), No. 5 (fennel sausage, hot salami, onion and cracked green olives) and No. 7 (oyster mushroom, smoked mozzarella, rosemary, and garlic and extra cheese in place of red sauce) have emerged as favorites. With myriad meat, cheeses and veggie selections, guests can make their own pizza dreams come true.
The Party Room—tucked away in the North Loop location—fits 40 comfortably (a few chairs can be squeezed in) and tables can be arranged by request. There’s no reservation fee, but each time slot (two available for lunch, two for dinner) requires a minimum, and a small house fee goes toward supplies and maintenance. While the regular menu is used in the private dining room, Black Sheep helps gauge the amount of pizza typically needed for a party of 20 or 40. Groups can arrange for enhancements provided by the restaurant, including flowers (the staff partners with local florists to work with client budgets and preferences), dessert menu (made in-house), Captains List (making special wines and champagne available) and linens.
A Minnesota staple since 1993, Pizza Lucé is a household name, with six locations in the Twin Cities and one in Duluth. But it’s the 2nd Avenue Party Room in the original Historic Warehouse District location, which can accommodate 40-80 and features a fullservice bar, where groups can get a slice of Lucé to themselves. Signature made-fromscratch pizzas, pastas, salads and appetizers can be served to your liking, whether it’s as full-service dining, buffet or reception.
The Richfield location can also work with groups of 20-40 for a private event.
Green Mill originated in 1935, but it wasn’t until 1975 (in St. Paul) that it became the restaurant that we know today—famous for its deep dish pizza and award-winning pasta. The neighborhood joint has since expanded to 27 locations currently, and hasn’t stopped growing; Green Mill took on the catering business in the last couple years and is now the preferred or exclusive caterer for many Twin Cities locations—514 Studios, FIVE Event Center, James J. Hill Library and the Lowertown Event Center, to name a few. Green Mill caters over 1,000 weddings and other events a year, which usually incorporate its award-winning pizza in one way or another—a pizza bar or a late-night wedding reception snack, for example. “We want our guests to enjoy the comfort and familiarity of Green Mill pizza, but experience it in a new way,” says Sarah Gruber, a catering sales manager for Green Mill Restaurants.
Green Mill doesn’t stop there, though. The Pizza Cruiser—a 44-foot semitruck equipped with three pizza ovens that can dish out 400 fresh, hot slices in an hour—has made its rounds through the Twin Cities metro for corporate events, fundraisers and other special events, most recognizably the Minnesota State Fair. The Pizza Cruiser comes prepared with plates, napkins and staff.
Many locations statewide feature private dining space as well, suitable for business meetings or social functions. Green Mill in Uptown has a private event room for 40; St. Paul can accommodate up to 55; and the Eagan establishment has room enough for 50.
Jason Montgomery, owner and operator of TRU Pizza Truck, worked endlessly to perfect his pizza crust. “I really try to shoot for 100 percent authentic Neapolitan-style crust,” says Montgomery. “It’s a crust that you would get anywhere around Naples, [Italy].” Just as the pizzas are made from scratch, Montgomery welded the 2,500-pound oven with his own two hands. TRU Pizza’s oven is built into the food truck and has no problem reaching the 800–1,000 degree temperature that’s needed.
Ingredients are sourced locally, sauces are made using organic vegetables and olive oil, and meats are antibiotic and hormone-free; seasonal pizzas are made with items found at a farmers market or Montgomery’s CSA (community supported agriculture).
TRU Pizza caters weddings and other events like company lunches, however large. “We just did [an event] for 300 over the course of three to four hours,” says Montgomery. “But we can do more than that easily. … In one day we could do 1,000 pizzas pretty easily.” No matter the season, TRU Pizza caters year-round. Salads and appetizer platters are offered at catered events as well.