When I last ambled through the Minnetonka Mills neighborhood, this joint was just a former auto-shop turned feed store. It now sits ready to debut NY-style crusts as Station Pizzeria, launching officially on Tuesday, January 17. This is the newest eatery from Ryan Burnet, who counts Barrio, Burch Steak, Bar La Grassa, Eastside, and Crisp & Green in his clutch. He's brought David Ellis over from Bar La Grassa to be his chef and the guy couldn't be more psyched to be playing with dough and meatballs. This will be a great addition to the neighborhood, as well as a prime spot to grab a post-game snack for all the teams that play at Big Willow all summer, from beer league softball, to fat forties soccer (read: me), to little league and more. Check it out!
It's obviously had a total makeover from its feed store days, but some of the wood has been reclaimed and the floors are still cement. It has a very warm vibe and those garage doors will pull open in the summer to create a bigger, breezier space. We're talking about 65 seats with an additional 30 during patio season.
While the front room is mostly high-tops, there is a semi-private side room with booths and tables. It also has a garage door for said breezes, and some pretty swank lighting! Burnet added soundproofing to the ceiling and the back wall to help with all the hard surfaces.
As far as decor goes, it's pretty simple. There are some nice design touches and lighting elements here and there, but I have to say how glad I am that it's not shlocked up with gas station memorabilia. And then there's this joyous pic hanging on the back wall.
There's a small 8-10 seater bar backed right up to the kitchen, "We'll have around 8 taps and a ton of bottled beer. Plus a really fun wine list," Burnet mentioned. "There'll be a nice mix of new American wines, like from the Libation Project, but also some solid Italian labels you want with pizza." When they doors roll up in the summer, they'll add a satellite bar out on the patio as well, just beer and wine at this point.
The paper scroll on that side wall is where the specials will be written, "You know we'll do a pasta every day, a sandwich, something interesting and fun, and more when we get going," Ellis said, "We'll open with a meatball sandwich and then maybe a calzone, but I can't wait to do some mushroom gnocchi too." You can take the chef out of Bar La Grassa .... Also that little square window behind the bar will become the walk-up take out window. They've scored six or so parking spots in front of the building to hold for drive-up take out in the warmer months, and will bring it out to you in the colder ones. Speaking of food ....
The menu will mostly be pizza, the one above is The Don with sausage, giardinera, roasted mushrooms and shaved garlic. That crust is sturdy, not cracker crisp, but enough to hold a straight line and fold appropriately if you need to. "I messed with that recipe a ton," Ellis said, "but I think we got it. We wanted to make sure it could stand up to toppings and still be great if you pick it up to bring home. Wet and soggy crust is not happiness." There will be about 10 standard pizzas, from the classic to the funky. As for other snacks, you'll be able to find a good round of salads as well as mac 'n' cheese with crispy prosciutto, roasted Brussles, cheese curds, and meatballs. Super simple, super legit. Check out the full menu below.
I'm excited! Station will be open for lunch and dinner daily, but will do only dinner starting the 17th, with lunch starting the following week on the 23rd. Go check them out!!