Introductions are in order before we proceed. A little while back, The J wrote up a lovely and funny (and… musical?) review of Pizzeria Lola. Fancy Dinner Club is nothing if not competitive, so I (Chris) will be trying to one-up him by representing team Red Wagon.
I’m going to go ahead and claim that, if the two pizza places are representing rival teams, Red Wagon’s team might as well be 1996 Chicago Bulls. Lola can be the Cavs or the Sonics or the Jazz or whatever. Look, I know the metaphor is a little strained, but the point is that I’m Phil Jackson, and the Red Wagon pizzas are Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and all those other guys. Plus, we have our own sweet intro music and cool, modern laser lights!
Luc Longley is the glass of water
Let’s get this out of the way right away: Red Wagon is my favorite thin-crust pizza place. I’ve been there several times now, and it never disappoints. The FDC gang was fortunate enough to try 7 different varieties of pizza that Red Wagon has to offer, and each one of them was a home run.
It’s hard to describe ‘gourmet pizza’ very well, but whatever it is, Red Wagon makes it. Their pizzas mix some unique flavors and textures to produce balanced, delicious flatbreads that explode with intriguing taste.
A quick rundown of the flavors we sampled-
The (titular) Red Wagon
This is one of Red Wagon’s more ‘traditional’ pizzas – a red-sauce based pizza with cheese and meat and some veggies. But the flavor is anything but expected. Sopressata ribbons deliver a crunchy texture and make you forget about pepperoni, and banana peppers and fig balsamic provide an excellent tartness to the overall flavor profile. It doesn’t hurt that the crust is cooked to perfection.
12-hour braised sweet soy glazed pulled pork with ginger-pickled carrots, radishes, cucumber, jalapeno and sriracha aioli all added together on this pizza to produce an amazing result. Even if you don’t like all those ingredients (and trust me, I’m normally not a huge fan of most of them) this pizza is worth a try.
Yellow Curry Chicken
Another spectacular offering from the Red Wagon menu. This thing has curried chicken, coconut yogurt and spicy cashews. What more do you need? If you like Indian food, or like pizza, or like food, or are alive and at Red Wagon Pizza, you should order this.
Detroit (left) and Red Woods BBQ (right)
The Detroit was the simplest of the pizzas we had at Red Wagon. Their menu says that this pizza is an homage to what their dad used to make – red sauce and cheese, with peppers and onions, ‘built upside down’. Whatever that means, the taste was right to me.
The Red Woods BBQ was another interesting one. I’m not in love with red onion, which this pizza has a bit of, but the rest of the flavors were really stellar. BBQ sauce, sriracha-glazed chicken and bacon came together into something wonderful. However, the title of this pizza reminded me of Deliverance, even though I’ve never actually seen that movie, so thumbs down for that.
Not pictured: Beet
The Beet pizza was definitely the one I was least looking forward to – I mean, a beet pizza? Come on!
It was surprisingly good though! I mean, any time there are micro greens it’s bound to be special.
Also not pictured: Popeye
The Popeye, as you may be able to guess, is a spinach pizza, and a good one at that. Spinach, sausage, cheese, lemon squeeze and black pepper. A solid if not mindblowing flavor combination.
The only downside of Red Wagon is the space. Mind you, the space is great, but they don’t have a plethora of seating, which means if you’re not lucky you may have to wait 30 minutes to an hour to be seated. No fear, though, their beer list is excellent so you’ll be able to grab a beer or two and chat with friends while awaiting your turn at the altar of the pizza gods.
I would put Red Wagon pizza up against any pizza in this town. The menu is extensive, the pizzas are well-prepared and provide intriguing flavors. South Minneapolis has two great options in Lola and Red Wagon, but gun to my head I’d steer you towards Red Wagon. If you haven’t been, you should go. Now.