Mozza Mia Pizzeria gets fresh

Gourmet pizza for mozzarella lovers

Mozza Mia is unique among its gourmet pizza competitors in its full liquor license, so dad can spiff up his usual Scotch on the rocks with one that's infused with black tea, cut with Coke, and garnished with a fresh vanilla bean swizzle stick. The drink tastes great, but it's a little light on the alcohol and heavy on the ice for its $9.50 price. Oddly, the neighborhood beverage, Fulton Brewing's Sweet Child of Vine, costs $8 a pint when other area restaurants sell it for $5. Mozza Mia is perhaps a better place to drink wine, with its reasonably priced glass-and-a-half pours.

The restaurant's short list of sweets isn't really worth much notice. The chocolate torte is the best option, but more noteworthy for its surprisingly mainstream portion size than its deliciousness. (Parasole's steakhouse, Manny's, famously serves a brownie that seems about the size of a car battery!)

The best dessert at Mozza Mia is a liquid one: the house-made limoncello, whose perfection Renda attributes to his use of Everclear. "When you want to do the right thing, you don't substitute," he says, with a thick Italian accent. "If I'm going to do it with vodka, I don't do it." Have the golden liqueur straight—it comes in these adorable little tempting-to-swipe glass bottles—or in slushy form. The latter, which is known as Sgroppino, is a flute of blended lemon gelato, limoncello, citrus vodka, and cream. It tastes like a spritely update on the retro ice-cream drink.

The Grande Tasting of cheeses
Emily Utne
The Grande Tasting of cheeses
Vittorio Renda, of Parasole, puts a new spin on the typical pizzeria
Emily Utne
Vittorio Renda, of Parasole, puts a new spin on the typical pizzeria

Location Info


Mozza Mia

3910 50th St. W.
Edina, MN 55424

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Edina


Mozza Mia
3910 W. 50th St., Edina
appetizers $6-$13; entrées $12-$15

Parasole CEO Phil Roberts makes a point of keeping the ambiance at all of his eateries relaxed and unintimidating. When Mozza Mia was being built, he described its ambiance as "blue-collar chic," "uncool," and even "a little on the dorky side." He said the concept was designed so "folks from Edina can feel like they're kind of slumming."

Last time I checked, blue collar and geek were both chic, and Mozza Mia's stripped-down, black-walled, red-accented aesthetic seems more plain than—pardon the pun—cheesy. ("Uncool" would more aptly apply to the tackily furnished Bucas that Parasole founded. Were that restaurant a home, the resident teenager would be too embarrassed to have friends over.) At Mozza Mia, Parasole downplays its signature attitude—has the group finally grown out of its penchant for cheeky innuendo?—to the point that the pizzeria is almost lacking in personality.

While the central kitchen offers a fun view of workers slicing dough balls off a giant, mother blob, its harsh fluorescent lights cast a wide glare into the dining room. And when you compare Mozza Mia's utilitarian, double-mouthed oven to Punch's mosaic-tile-covered beauties or Lola's copper-covered gem, the first has all the visual appeal of a fast-food restaurant's floor. The pies look as if they're being pulled from jail-cell food slots.

Perhaps, in this neighborhood, decorating with tomato cans and pasta boxes is all it takes to be considered out of vogue. Slumming for Edina is what, then? The horrors of public transit, coach airline seats, and general admission?

Mozza Mia offers a casual, family-friendly dining option to a neighborhood that's been gentrifying at an even faster pace since its lone budget-priced holdout, the old Arby's, was demolished. Five roast beef sandwiches for $5? Now that was how Edinans used to lower their standards.

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