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82. D'Vinci's

Classification: Traditional

Location: Navarre, Minnesota

When I re-located to my current residence, one of my first duties as patriarch and defender of the household was to scout the new territory for suppliers, traders, sheep shears, gun powder, and of course—pizza. Among the first pizzerias I encountered was a tiny hole-in-the-wall that seemed to have potential as a colorful joint frequented by local misfits, miscreants, and ne'er-do-wells, but upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a mostly take-out operation whose exterior sign boasted a 2-for-$22 special that was rich in neither quality or economy. I first served D'Vinci's at a post-wedding party a few days after my daughter was married.

It was a blending of families from different parts of the world, all of us uniting around our mutual love of our children and the comraderie of a shared slice of pie. One oddity still remains with me from that day: when inquiring about beverage desires, one of our European guests requested Fanta, which, a) has never been requested before on North American soil; and, b) forced me to dig deep at the grocery, thus providing me with a memorable cultural exchange.

Though there was a tiny sliver of a language barrier, the disappointment in the pizza needed no interpretation. A five-high stack of pizza boxes was visually impressive, and the group powered through most of it. The evening was a joy and a success, despite D'Vinci's unconvincing contribution. I've since re-sampled it when visiting friends in that particular neighborhood, and it just has never really moved the needle for me. Unremarkable pizza is still a winner. (5 of 10 stars)

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