A Pizza By Any Other Name…
…is just a pizza, right? Not when it’s a genuine East Coast-style Tomato Pie made by an Irishman from Trenton, New Jersey. And, of course, the next question is ‘what the heck is a tomato pie?’ Mick Brogan, the transplanted owner of Papa’s Pizza and Pasta, was more than happy to regale me with tales about the genuine East Coast-style Tomato Pie.
While I won’t share Mick’s tall tales and yarns about the tomato pie, New Jersey, Ireland, the Rat Pack and whatever else pops into his fertile mind while he chats with customers, I will tell you that a proper tomato pie has olive oil drizzled over the crust, then a layer of crushed tomatoes (no sauce), then a sprinkling of cheese, and then a last drizzling of olive oil. Then it’s baked in a pizza oven.
Being the adventurous type, there was no way I was going to come to a place that claims to make genuine East Coast Tomato Pie and just nibble on the bread sticks! The tomato pie was fabulous! Rather than being ‘slap you in the face different’, the tomato pie is a subtle alternative to the, as Mick puts it, “cheese-drenched, crust-less slabs they serve in typical pizza joints.”
Mick isn’t subtle. That’s why I like him and his little pizza and pasta restaurant. This is a hangout for families, friends, neighbors and all the local characters who are drawn to people like Mick Brogan. And before you leave, don’t forget to check out the “Hall of Shame” on the way to the bathrooms. Mick is a sworn fan of the Rat Pack and you’ll find photos, statues, albums and posters of Frank, Deano and Sammy. Don’t miss it.
Also, when you pull up or drive by Papa’s Pizza and Pasta, wave to the big guy in an apron out talking to guests on the patio. (And don’t forget to remind him he should change the name of the restaurant to Papa Mick’s Tomato Pies!)
They are located at 4159 Thomas Avenue North in Minneapolis. Papa’s is open Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. The phone number is 612-521-PAPA (7272). And no, they don’t deliver. You want to eat? You come to Papa’s house!
Oh, and don’t forget to check out their website (www.papspizzaandpasta.com) for their free Music in the Heart of Victory music series sponsored by Camden Music School.