Heard rumors that Edina’s getting a second Pizzeria Lola? Not so fast—the old Franklin Bakery site is actually getting something very different. So let’s all extend a hearty welcome to Hello Pizza, an East Coast style, 16-inch, pizza-by-the-slice spot.
To Ann Kim, who has studied pizza in depth, the differences between her Pizzeria Lola pies and the Hello Pizza ones will be as vast as the differences between white cranes and red-tailed hawks. Pizzeria Lola: Wood fired oven, Neapolitan style, rare ingredients, charcuterie, a little epicurean experimentation with Korean ingredients when the mood strikes. Graceful, sensuous, a little high-brow. But now the New York-ish, Providence, Rhode Island-ish, street star Hello Pizza: Flat, thin, crispy, a little fierce, in the way street-dwellers always are.
“People think pizza’s easy,” Ann Kim told me. “Yeah. Shitty pizza’s easy. At Pizzeria Lola, I think the reason people wait an hour and a half is that they can tell we’re doing pizza with intentionality. We’re doing things to the best of my knowledge. That takes a certain amount of time, and a certain amount of well-trained staff. I’m not sure it could be done again, or as a chain. But I’ve always had a vision for East Coast pizza too, something much more casual, with counter service, communal tables. Why do we go to restaurants? To see other people. To be part of a community. Otherwise we’d just stay home.”
Though if you want to get one of these 16-inch pies to-go, you will have that option. You will also have the option for simple salads and meatball hoagies! We need more action in the meatball hoagie scene around here, so all is good on that front.
Kim told me that they initially were looking at the former Franklin Bakery space in Edina as a commissary to simply make dough for Lola—they’ve run out of dough a number of times now since they’re serving lunch and dinner seven days a week. The space will now have three roles: As the forthcoming Hello Pizza; as a dough lab for Lola; and it will also be a lab for Ann Kim’s other ideas.
“I have a great Sicilian pizza recipe I think people will love, I can see doing Sicilian Sundays, I even have a good Chicago pizza—”At this point I interrupted her, telling her I thought good Chicago pizza was a myth at this point, the crust never cooks through. “No no. I’m up for the challenge,” Kim told me. “People shouldn’t be surprised if I come out with one someday.” As its own pizza restaurant? Could be, Kim told me. We could well see a day when there’s an Ann Kim Chicago pizza spot, an Ann Kim Roman pizza spot … Can’t wait.
Target opening date? January 2013.
But inquiring minds want to know: Which of the top pizza-slices in the Twin Cities will the new shop unseat? To this critic’s mind, the top pizza-slices* in town are, in order:
*Slices. Black Sheep pizza does not make slices. That’s why they’re not on this list. But other notables did I miss?