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83. Forkless Pizza

Classification: Traditional

Location: Maple Plain, Minnesota

I don't know what the name is supposed to imply, since by most standards, pizza is almost always eaten forkless. There are occasions when a pizza, served among polite society, calls for the use of flatware, but it's clearly the exception, so it feels like an unnecessary overstatement to make "forkless" your calling card. Have you tried:

  • Strawless Merlot

  • Bunless Porterhouse

  • Flavorless Kale

Some things just don't need formal declaration. Then again, Forkless is not without some surprises; over the last few years, they've transitioned from a small pizza joint into a small BBQ and pizza joint. I've not had the BBQ, but I can confirm that it smells pretty good.

My first visit was in 2010, when it was still called Pete's Pizza. For about 20 years, I shared eight season tickets to Twins baseball with an itinerant group of about 35 people. Coordinating it always stretched my abilities in logistics, but it was still a pleasure when it came time to actually distribute the tickets and visit with my baseball posse. Our normal pattern was to have a coffee shop meet-up, sort of an open house for a couple hours. In fact, the group had ballooned so large that it had to be scheduled over multiple nights, with participants welcome to drop in at their convenience. Only half the group came the first night, but I still departed with around $15,000 in cash and checks, plus the other half of the tickets remaining to deliver.

It was late and I called home to tell wife I was on my way and she suggested (no lie!) that we give the new pizza place a try since I was driving right past it. I phoned in the order (no hands-free laws at the time) and pulled up 10 minutes later for the quick pickup. A smallish band of fifth-ring suburban middle school Gangstaz lounged on the sidewalk outside, idling on their BMXs and basking in an intoxicating blend of Marlboros and Axe Body Wash. And without thinking, I dashed in, leaving the cash, checks, and tickets exposed and unlocked on the front passenger seat.

When I returned a few minutes later, the kids were gone, my cash and tickets were left untouched, and the pizza was fine, but not great. I was in Maple Plain, so I learned a tough lesson the easy way that night. And in another odd twist, the mid-grade pizza has not improved with their new emphasis on barbecue. (5 of 10 stars)

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