Location: New Brighton, Minnesota
The crust was too thick and the sauce a little on the sweet side, but this is a nice room. Sometimes an evening of dining is not just about the food (even pizza) and surprisingly, all the other intangibles assume the leading role. This is such an instance, because for some reason, I have a soft spot for family-run, strip mall pizza places. I chose the photo for this essay to purposely highlight the unspectacular harmony of places like Adagio's: an under-designed exterior with a kitchen-table approach to branding. It's so perfectly unassuming that I'm drawn to it like a loose mule in a corn patch.
A while back, I rightfully ridiculed Pizza Hut's modern marketing because it so strongly insinuates complete compliance and uniformity to a directive most likely hatched from a corporate office complex, which is tremendously valuable—if you're a shareholder. Adagio's is having none of that, and I respect them for it. Look closely, and you'll see two different illuminated logo signs that don't match in style, font, or color. As a professional "creative" it goes against everything I strive to achieve in my chosen vocation and yet, as a consumer, it tells me that this place is focused solely on the product. So in the end, their recipe didn't blend perfectly to my tastes. In fact, I would compare it equally with some of the franchises I just poked. But toss in the proper mix of wood-paneling, oldies radio, fiberglass bench seating, and acres of free parking, and well...it's a pretty good pizza night. (5 of 10 stars)