Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler.
If you let yourself wander the streets of St. Paul a little bit, one of the first things you’ll notice is a sprinkling of old-school pizzerias. Mixed in throughout the city’s many neighborhoods, they’re the opposite of flashy—they’ve generally got a gritty, comfortable, lived-in kind of feel to them—and they tend to serve up surprisingly tasty food.
Along with Mama’s Pizza on Rice Street, Michael’s Pizza is one of our favorites of the bunch. Michael’s is an utterly unpretentious little spot that, from our location, lies just across the Smith Avenue High Bridge from West Seventh Street. If you happen to come and go via that route, you’ll catch some of the most spectacular views in the state, particularly as you cross back to the north and take in a panoramic skyline view including the Cathedral of St. Paul.
Since Michael’s is a classic spot, we ordered a classic 10-inch pepperoni pizza ($12). There may not be a local old-school pizza better than this one: the crust is crispy but chewy, not merely a cracker-like vehicle for oversized gobs of cheese. The proportions are good—cheese, crust, and sauce are in harmony, and the sauce pops with spicy, tangy flavor. The cheese is chewy and pulls nicely as you separate the square-cut pieces, but it’s not so thick as to drown the rest of the dish.
Make Michael’s a destination, and while you’re there stop in next door at the St. Paul Flatbread Company—it’s making some of the state’s best Arabic flatbreads, plus hummus and kibbeh.
The Dish: 10” Pepperoni Pizza, $12
The Place: Michael’s Pizza, 441 S. Robert St., St. Paul
The Reason: If you’re craving a simple, classic American pizza, nobody makes it better