Pizzeria Lola’s slice of Seoul in Minneapolis

The iconic copper pizza oven.
The iconic copper pizza oven.
Rea Clark

When discussing who makes the best pizza, there is always debate about New York’s cheap slices and Chicago’s deep dishes. However, Minneapolis enters the conversation with Pizzeria Lola, a charming pizzeria located on Xerxes Ave in Minneapolis that has become a beloved spot for locals and tourists alike.

Pizzeria Lola was founded by Chef Ann Kim, a Korean immigrant, who has made her restaurant a symbol of innovation and quality in the pizza industry. Kim’s culinary expertise knows no bounds, and she has demonstrated her passion for food with her unique recipes, which reflect her Korean roots and her love of exploring new flavors.

After immigrating from South Korea, Kim grew up in Apple Valley. She graduated with an English degree from Columbia University in New York City and spent the next eight years working as an actress. Despite her English degree and acting skills, Kim would prove to be a force to be reckoned with in the restaurant business.

The patio area covers the entrance for Pizzeria Lola. (Rea Clark)


Story continues below advertisement

Since opening in 2010, Pizzeria Lola has been the go-to spot for pizza lovers, serving up pies that defy norms and ignite taste buds. Drawing inspiration from all corners of the culinary world and Kim’s Korean upbringing, each pizza telling a tale of culinary finesse and imagination.

Walking into Pizzeria Lola, one is immediately engulfed in the restaurant’s electric energy. The ambiance is stylish, with dark wooden furniture, a photo booth and a large copper pizza oven in the center of the room. There are various seating options including a bar attached to the kitchen, giving diners a view of the beautiful copper pizza oven and the thrill of watching the chefs in action.

Depending on how many toppings it has, a personal-sized pizza ranges from $13 to $24. The “Korean BBQ” pizza was mouthwatering. Its toppings included beef short ribs, mozzarella, scallion, arugula, soy-chili vinaigrette and sesame. At first, the large portion of vinaigrette felt like a flavor-fueled punch in the face, but as you eat more, the flavors blended perfectly, revealing their impeccable taste.
The Korean BBQ was overloaded with toppings and taste, yet the “Marinara” pizza could not have been more different. Lola’s signature light and airy crust is topped only with plum tomato sauce, chunks of garlic, Sicilian oregano and olive oil. The sauce is sweet and pairs perfectly with the other ingredients, reinforcing that sometimes, less is more.

Plates of half-eaten Marinara and Korean BBQ pizzas, along with the Szechuan Green Beans represent the large servings provided. (Rea Clark)

The menu at Pizzeria Lola is not limited to just pizzas. The restaurant also offers a variety of appetizers, salads and sides, including the Szechuan Green Beans, which are a must-try. The green beans are served with whipped tofu tahini, soy ginger sauce and garlic chili crisps. They have a unique, addictive flavor that leaves people wanting more. If spiciness is a barrier, these might pose a challenge, although they are so good that it may be worth the potential tears.

Unsurprisingly, others have left Pizzeria Lola impressed. In 2019, Kim became the first woman and person of color from Minneapolis to win the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Midwest. In November 2023, Time Out magazine ranked Pizzeria Lola 12th on its list of the best pizza places in the U.S. Kim has an impressive track record, having been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. In 2022, Pizzeria Lola was even featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, cementing it in the culinary hall of fame.

Over the past few years, Kim has launched several additional restaurants, such as Hello Pizza in Edina, Young Joni in 2016 and Sooki & Mimi in Uptown Minneapolis in 2021. In 2023, she closed Sooki & Mimi and opened Korean American restaurant Kim’s, unveiled in November in the same location.

Pizzeria Lola is a fantastic fusion of flavors unlike any other. The restaurant pushes the boundaries of what pizza can be. It is not just a pizzeria; it is a slice of Minneapolis’s vibrant food scene with a perfect blend of tradition and innovation in every bite.

The kitchen staff is hard at work prepping and cooking the recipes, with the staff rushing around to run food and prepare pizzas for the oven. (Rea Clark)

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Oracle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *