A place that I had driven by on a few occasions on my trips to the Twin Cities was a restaurant on Penn Ave. in suburban Richfield by the name of Fireside Pizza. (see map) I did a little checking up on the place and decided to put it on my "Restaurants to Visit" list that I keep on my computer. On a recent trip to Minneapolis, I decided to give Fireside Pizza a try.
Fireside Pizza has been a staple with the locals in and around Richfield since 1960. Original owner Dave Miller started a tradition of hosting jazz music a number of years ago. A number of Twin Cities area jazz musicians have played at Fireside Pizza over the years. When Rich Thompson bought the business in 1996, he continued the jazz music tradition with performances on Monday and Wednesday nights.
(The official name of the restaurant is Storm's Fireside Pizza. I couldn't figure out or find out the reference to Storm as nothing came up in looking around that a guy by he name of Storm ever owned the business.)
It happened to be a Wednesday night when I was there recently. Performing that evening were former school teacher Denny Malmberg on accordion and local jazz vocalist Charmin Michelle. About a dozen people were in the place which looked like it hadn't been updated since Dave Miller opened the doors over 52 years ago. But the dining area was kept up very nicely. The interior had a kind of cozy retro look to the place. I took a seat a booth and a waitress came over with a menu. In addition to pizza at Fireside Pizza, they have a number of pasta entrees, sandwiches and salads. On the weekends, Fireside pizza serves a full breakfast menu from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It was a pretty easy decision for me - I was going to get a small Fireside's thin crust pizza with my regular sausage, pepperoni and mushroom. After I placed my order it took about 20 minutes - and a couple cold beers - for the pizza to show up at my table.
The pizza was served on a round cardboard base - rather strange, I thought. Usually, you'd get a pizza on a plate or a metal platter. But this was the type of cardboard base that you'd find with a frozen pizza. The cardboard absorbed the grease which was fine, I suppose, but I like my pizza served on a plate or platter.
The crust on the Fireside pizza was thin and crisp, but not cracker thin. It had a nice snap to the bite and was easy to chew.
The toppings were very fresh. The mushrooms were large and cut thick. The Italian sausage had a great flavor, although I thought they could have put a little more on the pizza. And the pepperoni was spicy and salty. I liked the tangy somewhat sweet pizza sauce on the Fireside pizza, and the combined romano and mozzarella cheese made for a great cheesy taste. As I've said before, if a pizza tastes great with a beer, it's a good pizza. The Fireside pizza tasted great with a beer.
I'm starting to find a few more pizza places in the Twin Cities, but the pizza I had at Fireside Pizza was very good. Their pizza has won many awards over the years and remains a favorite of the locals. The jazz music was a nice touch during dining that evening. Fireside Pizza is not far from the hotel I stay at when I go to the Twin Cities and it will be a place that I'll go back to when I want just a good ol' thin crust pizza from a little neighborhood joint when I'm in town.