We were ready to head out for some amazing pizza in the northwest ‘burbs when two of the group had to cancel. Rather than travel to the “Here be Dragons” part of the map without the entire sailing crew we opted to find something closer to home. St. Paul had been the site of the amazing pizza and atmosphere at Red’s Savoy so when Isaac jumped in with the suggestion to try Skinner’s Pub and Eatery on Randolph in St. Paul we were quick to sign up.

A small lot out back but plenty of on-street parking made the end of the drive easy. On entry we were greeted by the classic neighborhood bar. Long and with a handful of people that fit the seats like a 1970’s bicycle tourer fits his leather saddle at the end of a long tour. Several people smiled and nodded a welcome. Just as we crossed the threshold we got a text to “go to the patio”. We hung a right at booth six, walked through the dinning area and into the patio. It was shaded and mostly empty at the early hour of six.

We are told that the place is busy on the nights that the sponsored softball team is in action, and, we are also told by inside sources that a Princess of the South Wind from the Winter Carnival plays on that same team. Fortunately Wednesday (correction) was Wing Night instead of game night. We ordered a dozen, splitting the bill: 8 Buffalo, 8 Jerk. all were good and sized well. Beer of the evening was the Boulevard Maibock- pints for $2.00. Remarkable. It only got better.

Neil Armstrong

The menu was full but we came for the pizza and soon we had two on the way. A classic pizza called Top of the Line with sausage, green peppers and the rest but with sauerkraut under the heavy blanket of cheese. The other was an amalgam of amazing meat products dubbed the Factory. Also with lots of cheese. One sign of a good pizza is when the surface of the pizza looks like the surface of the moon. The cheese sinks between the remarkable lumps of food allowing it to brown unevenly and look like even a martian rover would have difficulty navigating the Sea of Edibility. Wonder if Neil Armstrong’s first thoughts after setting down the Lunar Lander were about where his next pizza would come from? Further note- I have been to Iceland where the Apollo Astronauts trained to walk on the moon’s uneven surface. I have yet to have a good Icelandic Pizza. Thought you should know. Suggestions are welcome.

Lunar Training Surfaces

In all seriousness, why would we EVER go for pizza to any place but St. Paul?

Red, Randy and Skinner- all were winners.

OUR FIRST FORAY INTO THE WORLD OF EATING CONTESTS WAS A BUST. BUT  A GREAT TIME WAS HAD BY ALL AND WE FOUND A NEW BEST PIZZA PLACE IN TOWN. RED’S SAVOY SLIDES TO NUMERO 2 AS RANDY’S TAKES THE LEAD. DETAILS FOLLOW.

SOME COMMENTS ON THE PLACE

From the history on the place’s website we learned that Randy’s was the original Pizza Man in town, and we do like Pizza Man. Over the years the name and affiliation of the place have changed but the many awards on the wall continued to grow. Did we mention the autographed photo of Tom and Roseanne? The place is small with a handful of tables and a busy take-out/ delivery business out front. A pizza buffet is served but we got there late enough that the place was ours- the five eaters and the six onlookers. (more…)

Some comments on the place.

You walk in the door and the long line of men at the bar lean forward to get a look at you. After a flashback from the first star wars movie you make it through the entryway and see the large restaurant filled with friendly looking people. The place is jumping and the smell is wonderful. A quirky place on a quirky corner of st. Paul this is the pizza destination in the twin cities. At least it is if you’re not looking for some uptown goat’s-cheese tofu creation. I know we weren’t as we settled down in the booth.

We returned recently with honorary GNO fellow Scott (brad’s brother in law by attitude) and continued to find the place wonderful. How can a joint that serves its pizza on cafeteria trays be wrong? And again, we have yet to miss on waitresses. Ours was fabulous. – tipped out at 20%- she was that good.

Some comments on the help.

It is always refreshing to see staff that runs the full range of ages. You just know that some of these people grew up working in this neighborhood and others are working to move on. I’m pleased to report that all staff had some form of grease on their aprons.

The food, the food.

Remarkable pizza. Savory sauces, chewy cheeses, mouthwatering meat, crispy crust. Damn it was good! Not for the faint of blood vessels. We recommend beer by the pitcher to keep the arteries open.

Other things we think you should know.

A small tight lot behind the place often has a space open. On-street parking after hours is plentiful. Just up the road (Payne) is the Yarusso Brothers Italian place. Look for a review sometime in the future.