Farewell Totino's

The StarTribune’s Eric Hanson writes today:

“Totino's Italian Kitchen, which started in 1951 when pizza was exotic and everything local people knew about Italian food began and ended with red sauce, will close Aug. 4 at its location on Central Avenue in northeast Minneapolis.”

Yes, it’s that Totino’s. The restaurant that gave us the famous Party Pizza. I lived on those things in college – usually alone, rarely in a party context - and can still taste the fennel-flecked sausage and the nubbin-cubes of pepperoni. Here’s an old matchbook of the original restaurant, complete with the inevitable cliched poofy-hat chef:

Mama mia, etc

That 's a big plate of spaghetti. Personally, I never eat from a plate as wide as my shoulders, but it would come in handy if you suddenly needed a shield to defend yourself against an invading Persian Army. Rarely a problem on Central Av, though.


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Way More Delicious

Totino's restaurant pizza is way more delicious than the Party Pizza. Not even close.

Of course, today, Totino's frozen pizza is jam packed with the flavor you'd expect a $1 pizza to be jam packed with. Thanks to General Mills, the proud owner of the Totino's line.


pizza

Just as well. If there is any worse pizza on the face of the earth, thank God I have not encountered it.


Aww, that's too bad

Seems like all the restaurants I like end up closing. And the last two that closed were both Italian as well... Ahhh! What's going on!? They were so much better than the other Italian restaurants, too!


for what it's worth

when i was there about two months ago they had already given up their liquor license, and the waitress told me that they were going to be re-opening in another location in a year or so ... apparently they are going to/did purchase another place nearby and will renovate it and open next year and get set back up. she said that the current location was just too much room.


Party Pizzas . . . will they still exist?

Not that I eat them any more, but I used to! Oh, how I used to; I'd nuke 'em in the high school microwave, (ensuring that any nutritional value was thoroughly zapped), roll 'em up like a burrito, and chow down on one entire pizza for lunch.

My favorite was the fennelicious sausage pizza. Will the store-bought pizzas still exist, if only to remind me of bygone days? In a way, this is kind of like yearning for leaded gasoline.


Sadly, Party Pizzas' reign

Sadly, Party Pizzas' reign of supremacy ended in the early 90s when their ingredients and size went strongly downhill, even as their price went up. Red Baron and Tombstone handily took over the market lead from them.


but it would come in handy

but it would come in handy if you suddenly needed a shield to defend yourself against an invading Persian Army

Tonight we dine in Hell! Tomorrow, we dine in True Italian Style!


Persians indeed on Central Ave.

They're not invading, they're not a problem, but for the record, there are lots of Middle Eastern restaurants on Central Ave. Possibly even Persian. It's a pretty diverse street, as Saturday's Strib reports.

Just inside the door at Totino's, check out the framed front page of the old East Side Argus, with a story on the restaurant's fifth anniversary.


That Is Really Sad!

I am so sorry to hear that my family's beloved Totino's is closing. The Totino's came over on the same boat as my family so they knew each other. My grandparents had gone there since they opened, my parents have been going there since they were 11 years old (when they opened), my sisters and I have been going there since we were born and in turn our children have been going there since they were born. It is a family tradition that will be sadly missed. A lot of memories there.


Ahhhh, Party Pizzas, the

Ahhhh, Party Pizzas, the White Castle of pizza. Beer + sausage party pizza = good times!


All this talk about Party Pizzas is crazy

Of course the store bought product evolved from the restaurant, but is no where near the same. Just weird everybody thinks that the locally owned GM brand of Totino's is going away.

I do have fond memories of the place as a child. My mom worked for Pillsbury and often took me there. Good luck to the owner on trying to move to a new location. I still think there is some history and potential to make a new start and do even better.


Did anyone read the article

Did anyone read the article completely? They are most likely moving to Mounds View, not closing! Closing is going out of business for good. Done. Complete! Geez!


Our family had a similar

Our family had a similar long-term, generational relationship with Totinos -- this location will be sadly missed! I'll miss my Special #2 at the old Central Avenue location!


Totinos

Oh no.....I love their pizzas (the restaurant ones, not those horrid frozen things). Every trip to Minneapolis we always stop in for a square or two or even a whole pizza. When my husband and I were in school, broke and without a car we, lived in NE Minneapolis When we had some cash, we would walk to Totino's from the U and have dinner and then catch the bus home. On a cold winter day nothing was more welcoming or fragrant than Totinos.


My mom used to work for

My mom used to work for Totino's at the pizza factory and offices in Fridley. She left when Pillsbury bought them out and moved the HQ to Minneapolis. Mom used to bring home cases of Party Pizzas that were slightly irregular - sometimes the pepperoni would be unevenly distributed, or the bag sealer would cut off part of the pizza. The crust had a distinct gluey taste and texture that I would recognize even to this day. I still can't eat the stuff.


Please keep the pizza rolls!

I love Totinos' Pizza!!! If they can't keep selling the frozen pizzas at least keep the pizza rolls!


The ok finger sign?

What's missing in that matchbook image is the OK finger sign that you usually see with stock pics of restaurant chefs...


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