Minneapolis gem Pizza Nea closing after 17 years

In his last week running Pizza Nea, owner Mike Sherwood is still upbeat, and still owning his trolls.

In his last week running Pizza Nea, owner Mike Sherwood is still upbeat, and still owning his trolls. Facebook

Maybe you went to Pizza Nea for their date night: $45 for two drinks, two pizzas, dessert, and a perfectly good excuse for getting out of the house on a Wednesday.

Or maybe you went because owner Mike Sherwood was not only likeable, openly talking about how a biking obsession helped him embrace sobriety, but boldly outspoken about gun control, LGBTQ rights, and Donald Trump, whom he called "disgusting."

Let's be honest, though: Probably you went because the pizza was really freakin' good. 

And now you've only got a few days left to get your mitts on it. On Wednesday night, the restaurant's social media accounts announced Saturday night would be Pizza Nea's last night of service.

Sherwood opened the East Hennepin shop 17 years ago after launching St. Paul Bagelry, which is still around under different ownership. He'd started experimenting with Neapolitan-style pizzas while still running the bagel joint, though at the time, few local diners would've been familiar with the traditional style's reliance on a blazing wood fire.

Here's how we described Pizza Nea in naming it Best Fancy Pizza in 2017:

Only the top ingredients will ever grace your pie: real Parmesan and buffalo mozzarella, big leaves of fragrant basil, paper-thin prosciutto, and good pancetta. The same attention to detail extends to salads, dessert, and service.

Since taking up his two-wheeled hobby, Sherwood has mentioned his interest in opening a bike-themed restaurant, saying a location along a heavily trafficked trail, maybe near the Mississippi River, would be ideal. 

The popular owner's going out of business just the same way he ran it, alternately encouraging people to love their neighbor and respect women, immigrants, people of color, queer folks, and other vulnerable communities...

...while also pausing to say he's not blaming a living wage for workers and sardonically own one of his trolls.

Stay tuned for more on any future projects of his, plus what's next for that location. Oh, and if you're in that neighborhood and hungry after Saturday night, the new Mac's Industrial location recently opened two doors down from Pizza Nea.