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40. My Pi

Classification: Specialty

Location: Golden Valley, Minnesota

Since it feels like #Pizza100 has crossed some kind of threshold now that we've entered Top 40 territory, I think your experience will be greatly enhanced if you sorta imagined today's post being narrated in the dulcet tones of Casey Kasem. And as long as we're throwing back to a bygone era, let's talk about My Pi—the original deep-dish rave in Twin Cities restaurant folklore.

First, a little history lesson. My Pi started out as a family-run venture in The Windy City before franchising out to about 20 locations, mostly in the midwest, but have now scaled back closer to their original vision, with just two Chicagoland locations. It is classical deep-dish, not wildly different than other notable landmark pizzerias in town, but they had the vision to expand beyond city limits long before the competitors, which is how I was introduced to it. It was pizza like I had never seen before, and to partake in its uniqueness was a dining event. I'm now very accustomed to deep-dish pizza, but in the late 70s, it was Man On the Moon-level barrier smashing. Located just across the road from Shakey's (#48), US Highway 12 was developing into the Golden Road of Pizza before falling on hard times, as these veritable establishments have been erased and rebuilt numerous times in recent decades. A timeline of the My Pi property reads like a tragic suburban time capsule: The Jolly Troll becomes My Pi becomes The Metropolitan Ballroom. So much has been lost.

And speaking of tragedy, My Pi was also the site of my worst-ever "date." It was the early 80s, and a promising girl suggests dinner at My Pi. (See? The girl showed some promise.) As I pick her up, she drops the bomb that she's meeting her college roommate there, and would I mind, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So suddenly, I'm reduced to third wheel status, and I'm bludgeoned for HOURS listening to the two of them quack the night away with college tales and worse, an in-depth analysis of the roommate's crappy new Renault Fuego her parents just bought her. It was a brutal date, but thanks to My Pi, it was a good night. (8 of 10 stars)

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