red wagon pizza co. | mpls

red wagon pizza company is a family-run neighborhood pizza joint in southwest minneapolis.  offering a variety of brick-oven pizzas that span far beyond your traditional pepperoni, red wagon pizza is the perfect spot for a sunday night date. great casual ambiance for couples & families alike, expansive beer & wine selections, delicious pizzas, & top-notch service.  what more could you want?  happiness is truly served here. red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com

a little over a year ago my husband (then-fiancé) chris & i jumped on an amazing opportunity to relocate to the twin cities metro & let an important chapter in our lives come to its end: the milwaukee chapter.

i lived in milwaukee for nearly a decade (i.e. my entire adult life), & it’s a place i truly adore.  my time spent there was a period of tremendous growth.  i found my best friendships, my husband, & an understanding of & acceptance for myself that is hard to put into words.  milwaukee, in many ways, will always be my home.

one of the hardest parts of the move has had nothing to do with the new jobs, or the packing & unpacking of all our belongings, or figuring out which routes get us from point a to point b most efficiently in rush hour.

one of the hardest parts of this move has been finding our new “regular” spots.

you know, the restaurants, bars, cafes, ice cream shops (& so on) that you frequent so much you become a regular guest.  the spots where the staff recognizes your face & may even know your name or your order without even having to ask.  the spots where you know whether or not you’re likely to be seated as a walk-in in less than 20 minutes.  the spots that meet up to their hype.  the spots where you know to steer clear of the fancy-schmancy $60 steak dinner because they happen to have the most underrated burger in town. 

& while it may sound a little silly at first, for a foodie like me, having this arsenal of go-to spots is synonymous with finding home wherever you are. 

after all, a coffee shop can be more than a place to grab a latte.  it can be the place where you & your greek life little sister camped out for hours in college listening to adele, studying, & sharing hopes & dreams. a restaurant can be more than a place to grab a bite.  it can be the place where the love of your life first tells you the three words you’ve been waiting to hear: “i love you.”  a cocktail bar can be more than just a place to have a drink.  it can be the place where you decide to share with your best friend that you’ve found the one. 
these regular spots, for me, are where life happens.

& while we’re not 100% twin cities experts yet, one of my most treasured rituals that we’ve created in our twin cities life has been our sunday night pizza dates at red wagon pizza.
red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.combar chips (crispy gaufrette chips, rosemary salt, sriracha mayo dipping sauce) via red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com

chris & i are something of pizza connoisseurs, so when we moved to minneapolis we eagerly tried a couple pizza joints that have a ton of hype with the locals here & were disappointed when they didn’t really rise to our expectations.

a couple of months later, we found red wagon pizza, a family-run neighborhood pizza joint in southwest minneapolis.  while i can’t tell you whether red wagon pizza has the best pizza in the metro, i can tell you that ever since sharing our first pizza there, chris & i have had no interest in trying another pizza joint.  in fact, we return week after week for our sunday night pizza dates. 

the folks at red wagon pizza just do what they do so well. 

it’s an open-concept restaurant, so you can choose to sit at the bar & chat with the bartender (hillary is our girl!), sit at the pizza bar & watch the kitchen staff work their magic with the brick oven (great for kiddos!), or sit on their beautiful patio. 

red wagon pizza has one of the most expansive beer lists in south minneapolis, with 35 taps that change regularly, keeping my hop-head husband coming back for more. 

their pizzas are all brick-oven pizza, resulting in a crust with the best chewy texture, & the combinations span from traditional (& delicious) to so creative that you’ll never want yellow curry chicken in non-pizza form…like, ever again.  the best part?  they’ll happily serve any pizza half-and-half – so you can (& should) try more than one!
red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com

the 5 things you MUST try at red wagon pizza
1. bar chips

red wagon pizza’s bar chips are fried gaufrette-style (i.e. perfectly crunchy crisp waffles), tossed with some herbs, & served with a sriracha aioli.  the perfect munchie to tide you over while your pizza is in the oven!
bar chips (crispy gaufrette chips, rosemary salt, sriracha mayo dipping sauce) via red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com bar chips (crispy gaufrette chips, rosemary salt, sriracha mayo dipping sauce) via red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com

2. red wagon pizza 

red wagon pizza’s namesake, this pie is a traditional combination of red sauce, melty cheese, italian sausage, & banana peppers.  the peppers give an acidic kick that cuts through the richness of the cheese & sausage.  just the pizza you should order when you have a craving for a great slice of pepperoni, it’s got a bit of a spicy kick & is so, so delicious. the red wagon pizza (spicy italian sausage, crispy soppressata ribbons, fresh mozzarella blend) at red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com

3. olive oyl

my all-time favorite red wagon pizza pizza, olive oyl is heaven on a plate.  pesto, olives, artichokes, roasted mushrooms & gooey pools of ricotta, baked to perfection & topped with a squeeze of lemon that is truly magical.  my half of the sunday night pizza date pizza is always olive oyl.  no joke, they tried to take if off the menu a few months back & it made me cry. olive oyl pizza (pesto, roasted mushrooms, artichokes, olives, & melty pools of fresh ricotta) at red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com

4. yellow curry chicken

chris’ go-to red wagon pizza pizza, this pie is nothing short of brilliant.  braised yellow curry chicken topped with drizzles of spicy yellow curry sauce & coconut yogurt & artfully arranged spicy cashews, pickled radish, & fresh cilantro.  this yellow curry chicken pizza, in chris’ words, is a non-pizza-ey pizza: it truly tastes like authentic yellow curry on naan bread & delivers the most perfectly balanced bite every time. yellow curry chicken pizza (yellow curry sauce, braised chicken, spiced cashews, & pickled carrots) at red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com

5. red wood’s bbq

not your typical bbq chicken pizza, red wood’s bbq amps it up to the next level with a house made bbq sauce, sriracha glazed chicken, smoky cheddar & corn, this bbq pizza is spicy & sweet (but definitely not too much so!) & will be sure to please the family. red woods bbq pizza (housemade barbecue, sriracha glazed chicken, smoky bacon cheddar, & corn) via red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com

6. she’s my cherry pie

i know, i know, i said there would be 5 things, but i can’t help myself.  red wagon pizza hasn’t been serving she’s my cherry pie until recently, but it’s totally made it’s way to my heart in the short time it’s been on the menu.  somewhere between sweet & savory, she’s my cherry pie makes the most pleasant lunch i could imagine.  a pizza with a spiced peach puree, cherries, & apricots, & topped with salty prosciutto & peppery arugula.  this pie is perfection. 

the folks at red wagon pizza are getting major kudos tonight on food network’s diners, drive-ins, & dives.  be sure to check it out, & if you’re local to the twin cities they’re hosting a viewing party at the restaurant tonight with pizza by the slice & plenty of beer & wine to go around.  red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com bar chips (crispy gaufrette chips, rosemary salt, sriracha mayo dipping sauce) via red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com red wagon pizza company in sw minneapolis via playswellwithbutter.com

now that you know what makes a city a home for me, i’d love to know: what are your favorite local gems? do you have any weekly food rituals with your loved ones that make your life complete?  what’s the best pizza combination you’ve ever had?  comment below – let’s chat!

8 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh, can’t believe I haven’t been here yet! I am obsessed with pizza, too, but usually stick to whatever is in my neighborhood, like Luce, Mesa and, yes, even Toppers when I’m in a bind. Pizza Nea in Northeast is great, and I also really, really love Pizzeria Lola. Definitely need to visit Red Wagon soon! Loved your photos.

    • andrea, you cannot beat toppers sticks! if you love lola, give red wagon a try. the yellow curry is lola-esque but the crust is to die for. let me know what you think! i’ve been dying to try pizza nea!

  2. This makes me want to visit Minneapolis ASAP!! The curry pizza is calling my name. Your photography is amazing too! I really like this pizza back home that is sweet peppers and mushrooms. It sounds like a weird combo, but it is so good!

    • aw thank you kelly! you should totally visit mpls! there is SO much to do & eat here that you’ll never want to leave 🙂 sweet pepper & mushroom pizza sounds SO good – not weird at all. have an awesome weekend!

  3. Woah woah woah. I NEED to try this! My hubs is from the cities – so when we are back for Christmas I think we need to go here ASAP!!! DROOLING!

  4. WOW, your photos of this place are amazing. It’s 8:32 a.m. in Texas and my mouth is watering for PIZZA. Great post!

    • annie, you’re so kind! thank you! red wagon made it pretty easy – their space is gorgeous & their food is delicious. i hope you’re having an awesome weekend!

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