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8. Primo Plates & Pours

Classification: Traditional

Location: Long Lake, Minnesota

Note: this is a semi-live report from our family den.

You might recall from entry #60 some of the issues I've encountered with my current hometown pizza, where for around $13 and a three-minute drive, I have a reasonable chance at scoring a decent pie. Their value rests in location and familiarity, but sometimes, like tonight, next-level pizza is required, and Primo has regularly met that challenge, despite being a 15-minute drive over to the next town. And now that my sister and brother-in-law have recently relocated just a few minutes away from the restaurant, Primo's role in our regular pizza rotation will continue to expand. I've planned all week for this to be our family dinner tonight while watching the soccer match, and I considered live-blogging in a bite-by-bite account for this entry. But in the end, the multi-tasking requirements far surpassed my ability to maintain any semblance of focus. So it's more like post-game report with highlights.

There is so much good news to report here. This relative newcomer opened their doors just four years ago, but they've quickly distinguished themselves from the other local operators, offering a full Italian menu of family recipes dating back several generations, and feature an absolutely stunning traditional wedge-cut. On any given bite, you might experience the finest taste of pizza you've ever experienced. All the elements are in place: a tender crust supporting a sauce with just a little bite. Being a full-service restaurant, Primo only offers a handful of pizzas on the menu, but they smartly include a classic pepperoni and our selection for tonight, a cubed Italian sausage that packs a little zing. Wifey insisted on red onions, but the flavor creep wasn't too bad. Despite a near-flawless product, a few little nits keep it from elevating to the absolute top of my rankings. The most obvious is the modest 12" size, combined with a pretty high price tag—about $19-20. I'm OK with paying a premium here, and a potential workaround is supplementing our meal with an $8 kiddie pizza, which is almost as big and just as good.

At Primo, the extra mileage and cost are validated. On Pizza Night, we often find ourselves playing the "better, faster, cheaper" game, and on nights like tonight, we chose "better." This is outstanding pizza. (9 of 10 stars)

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