The I Love NE Minneapolis Facebook page is not—how do we say—the most tranquil corner of the internet. At best, cats are lost and people are frantic. More reliably, community members go on rants about opportunistic crime and shitty drivers, for days on end.
But for a brief moment in time that dynamic changed when Allison Kuznia posted in the group, mentioning that her teenage son, Ezra, had started a take-and-bake pizza business from their home.
She wondered, “Could Ezra’s Pizzas unite a neighborhood hardened by rising housing costs, runaway pets, diminished bike lanes, and package theft?” O’Reilly didn’t think so. But she also didn’t care. “I needed to believe in something again, and that thing was going to be 16-inch pizza handmade by a home-schooled teen."
That’s right: Ezra’s Pizzas are part of the 14-year-old’s home-schooling curriculum. Per his charming website (which O’Reilly aptly describes as “part business proposal, part pasta sauce commercial”), his mom informed him this was “business class.”
Kuznia explained that since September, he’s accepted orders via text message, “Monday through Saturday, every week.” He says you “have to order before noon on the day that you want it. And you can pick it up anytime between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.”
Each pizza is handmade, from the toppings right down to the dough. Find the flavor (or flavors) available that week on his website. At the moment he’s slinging a bleu cheese, walnut, and pear option, as well as a chicken and avocado pizza. These gourmet profiles are the result of family consensus, and some sort of mysterious family rating system: “I look back on the pizzas that we’ve had in the past and... I look at which pizzas our family has rated the highest and choose out of those.”
Kuznia says his most challenging day in business was when he had to make six pizzas in one afternoon. Six.
Please read that sentence as many times as necessary before considering if, how, and when you place an order with Kuznia.
Put more plainly: He’s 14. Though he happens to be good at it, these take-and-bake pizzas are literally a school project set to end within the year when he goes to high school. He (and his parents) know that participating in this story could make him busy, and selling pizzas is good for business, but we’re the adults here. Do not bombard the child.
When it comes to payment, it’s important to note that Ezra’s Pizza isn’t technically a licensed commercial kitchen, so Kuznia can’t legally charge you for his pizzas. And he doesn’t.
This gets back to those neighborhood warm-fuzzies that O’Reilly hoped to find earlier by following a Facebook post. Kuznia provides all his pizzas (and hard work) for a free-will donation. The suggested price is $15 to $20. Cash and check are the only acceptable forms of donation, and should be handed over when picking up your order.
As O’Reilly testifies, the pizzas are worth every cent. Per her recollection, his variation on a peach Gorgonzola chicken pie was “generously (lovingly) topped and the crust baked up crisp and buttery on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside.” Despite freezing the pizza for a few days and baking it from frozen, the crust was buttery enough to gush over.
“Five out of five drunk people in my apartment agreed it was delicious," she gushed.
Ezra: When you’re older, you’ll understand this is the highest praise possible.