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21. Turitto's Pizza

Classification: Traditional

Location: Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

I can't say this with 100% certainty, and it's probably like this everywhere across the USA, but on a day that your NFL team loses, a dark and unspoken cloud of gloom lingers until at least the following Tuesday. Now, I'm not a football fan, and Swen seems only marginally more interested, but it's practically impossible to not sense the darkened spirit of the Twin Cities upon such an occurrence. So in the fall of 2018, after the winless Buffalo Bills crackbacked the Vikings by a 27-6 score...well, a pall was cast over the entire region, and we felt the shiver in our bones and all around the gray and crumbling concrete surrounding tiny Fleming Airfield, a commuter airport serving the nether regions of Dakota County. But it was there that we found a sorely needed ray of light, a place for podcasters and Helga-horn wearing galoots alike to mourn and calm themselves with two essentials: the pain-dulling salve of an insignificant Bears-Cardinals game on the big screen—and good pizza.

I'd enjoyed Turitto's numerous times, as my wonderful mother-in-law lives on the edge of the delivery zone, and have always held it in high regard, but this autumnal afternoon spawned my first in-person visit. The neighborhood resembles the haunting photos I've seen of the modern-day site of the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo—mostly forgotten and abandoned. But if you can gaze past the torrent of gnarled chain-link fencing, tall grass and rusty high-milage Buick Skylarks parked along the street, Turitto's is a surprising little jewel. It's a deep-rooted Minnesota pizza, made with unsurprising but excellent ingredients, cut and served just the way we like it. Toss in the red-checkered decor and a woody quasi-rustic interior and you've got yourself a winner—even on days when the sporting world is frowning upon you. (9 of 10 stars)

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