Photo by Eliesa Johnson
A slice of pizza and salad at Cossetta in St. Paul | photo by Eliesa Johnson
A magical slice of Cossetta
Big, flat, thin—the defining characteristic of East Coast pizza is that you can fold it in half, walk, and eat while you're leading your super-fast-paced East Coast life.
Transplants and purists, we've got you covered. Here's where you can grab a slice, race for the LRT, read the paper on your phone, and at least feel a bit rooted.
The most foldable, thin, and crisp of all Minneapolis pizzas is from Broders'. This is classic New York City corner shop pizza. It has distinctly good biscuity crust—with its glassy nanometer of bottom crust that turns into another few nanometers of breadiness and then the spongy nanometer of tenderness directly beneath the cheese. Does crust really have so much going on in a scant few millimeters? Broders' does. When the toppings get fancy—like fresh morels, asparagus, fresh mozzarella, and chive or Greek with feata, hot pepper, tomato, and kalamata olives—that crust stands up to them. But nothing says East Coast like a $2.50 slice of Broders' pizza eaten onsite. 2308 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-925-3113, broders.com
Chef Jordan Smith opened a bazillion Twin Cities restaurants as a chef-for-hire before developing his own so-simple-it-sings concept: big, thin, East Coast-style pizzas cooked with super-hot anthracite coal (as they do in Pennsylvania and places nearby). This coal fire results in crusts as crisp and light as pizza clouds, anchored to earth with intensely flavored classic East Coast toppings like meatballs and ricotta or hot salami and chili pepper. 600 Washington Ave. N., Mpls., 612-342-2625; 512 N. Robert St., St. Paul, 651-227-4337, blacksheeppizza.com
Cossetta has been delighting St. Paul for more than a century with its budget-friendly pizza, which is a magical combination of East Coast (big, with a thin crust) and midwestern (bountiful cheese!). Because sometimes the idea of so many toppings just exhausts you, and you just want a simple slice of cheese pizza. Take a bite and experience the tender crust, the salty cheese, and the savory sauce, which balances out to real simplicity. It's one of the classic tastes of St. Paul, the last city of the East and a pizza champ with its own East Coast style. 211 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-222-3476, cossettas.com
This place is a joy. The pies have big bubbly crusts, gorgeous crimson spicy sauce, and toppings straight out of the Atlantic seaboard, such as anchovies (who has anchovies anymore?!) and hot giardiniera. The garlic-soaked, baby clam-topped New Haven pizza is a dream come true for people who miss their corner shop linquini-and-clam-sauce gems. Kids are extra happy because they can draw on white-papered tables with bins of crayons (and waiters bring extra garlic toast for impatient toddlers). And happy kids plus nice pizza guys bringing great pizza equals joy. 5600 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-2040; 311 W. 84th St., Bloomington, 952-888-3282, fatlorenzos.com
The square-cut Sicilian slice at Hello Pizza is a little bit of East Coast—so airy it's practically fluffy, so tomatoey it's bright and sweet, so roasty and rich it's endlessly fascinating, an obvious cousin to the Sicilian square-cut slices of New York, Pittsburgh, and other points east. But for a twice-removed cousin, we're happy to call this one a local. 3904 Sunnyside Rd., Edina, 952-303-4514, hellopizza.com