I’ve been reading for years on various chow.com threads how Joey Nova’s is the best NY style pizza in the Metro. With one Chow commenter suggesting that one of my preferred go to NY style places, Hiawatha Pizza, is a “scratch”, I figured it was worth the time to head out to the western burbs and see what the fuss was all about.
Prior to our visit I checked with my buddy Dave R., a NY native currently residing in Biloxi, Mississippi who regularly travels to Eden Prairie one week a month. With Dave just having returned from a road trip to NYC to visit his mother, and having tasted some pizza during his stay, I figured he was the best person to help determine whether Joey Nova’s was worthy of the title of best NY style in MN.
I took the bus to Eden Prairie where Dave picked me up from the transit station while The Wife and The Rooster drove from Apple Valley to meet us there. We arrived just after 4:30 PM on a Monday and found a couple of people already eating from oversized pieces at some of the booths lining the wall. After taking a look at the overhead menu we chose a non-NY style pizza (19″), Pizza Bruschetta which is described as including: diced Roma tomatoes, onions, fresh basil, mozzarella and a garlic olive oil sauce. Just to make sure we had an opportunity to taste the real deal, I placed an order for a single slice of cheese for only a few dollars more.
After ordering at the counter we headed to our seats and waited for the monster tray to arrive. It eventually did and it was definitely huge. While we had no problems finishing it, the pieces were definitely large and folded easily. The Bruschetta was tasty and my friend Dave noted that while he wasn’t exactly into it to start, it grew on him as he went and he finished a fan. Both The Wife and The Rooster were also impressed while I was only mildly interested in it.
The single slice of cheese looked beautiful. Greasy, floppy, and golden–mmm, mmm. While actually cut as two slices, it was served as one and thus folded extra easily in half. The grease dripped off as expected into a puddle where the tip touched the plate. While it looked great and acted great, I wasn’t at all impressed with it. The sauce was tasteless and thus it ruined the entire experience for me. While the Chowhounder noted that Hiawatha was a scratch, it was pretty apparent to me that Joey Nova’s should be added to that list as this was definitely a pass for me when compared to several of the other local places serving NY style pies. My buddy Dave noted that everything about the slice was great except for the sauce and that it was clearly meant for Minnesota taste buds. Well, if it’s meant for Minnesotans, it’s clearly not NY style. Might as well have cut it into squares and added 6.5 lbs of cheese while they were at it.
Overall Joey Nova’s was decent pizza and was world’s better than the average Midwestern style which predominates the Metro, however I take great offense to it being called the best NY style pizza. While I generally agree with most Chowhounders, it’s clear they have absolutely no clue when it comes to decent NY style pizza–at least the kinds I grew up with and those that my buddy Dave ate recently. It’s time to change that sauce Mr. Nova and bring it back to the quality one would expect from a transplant.
Have you ever had Joey Nova’s in either Tonka Bay or Plymouth? If so what did you think? Do you expect pizza sauce to have some zip/flavor? Do you appreciate NY style? If yes, where do you usually pick it up from? Whatever you have to say about Joey Nova’s in Tonka Bay go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
5655 Manitou Rd
Tonka Bay, MN 55331
See all the pictures from Joey Nova’s on Flickr here.