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69. Station Pizzeria

Classification: Traditional

Location: Minnetonka, Minnesota

My parents grew up in rural Iowa, in tiny towns nestled among the gently rolling hills that buffet the Lincoln Highway, that esteemed patch of asphalt splicing through America's breadbasket as it stretches from Atlantic to Pacific. Whether heading east or west, there's a certain rhythmic sameness to the landscape, but in central Benton County lies a long-abandoned 1930s-style gas station that is a throwback to a happier era, The Great Depression. When passing by, I could easily envision a team of local grease monkeys sweating through a hot and humid summer day, trying like the dickens to fix the carburetor on a rusted out Edsel and hoping it might would provide them with a safe and stylish ride to the Saturday night dance a couple towns over in Van Horne. The building actually still stands, having endured a number of changes over the decades, but the possibilities for old place were given new life (in my mind) on a cold December night in 2018.

I visited Station Pizzeria with Swen and Paul and what amazed me was what a little Love It or List It elbow grease can do for an old garage. Built in 1934, this place is pretty similar to the old filling station I just described, but with pizza. The dining room is modern. The pizza is modern. The menus are modern. Of course, even the clientele is modern. So it's maybe not a straight shot down Nostalgia Lane, but it was enough to make me recall the old Lincoln Highway filler-up.

And the pizza? It was actually pretty decent. Although we ordered our standard pepperoni/sausage combo, there was a slight hipster/foodie vibe, which wasn't terrible. It looked and tasted like a pizza, and even though the wait staff and surrounding patrons probably thought we were indeed relics from the 1930s, we all left the place feeling pretty satisfied. I look forward to returning again, but not until after I've fully vetted opening up a similar place about five hours south of here. (7 of 10 stars)

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