Sparks is the somewhat little-known gem in the perpetually under-served neighborhood of Bryn-Mawr and one of our picks for some of the best pizza in either city -- thin-crust, hand-tossed, wood fired with white and red oak, topped with hand-pulled mozzerella, and finished with the finest olive oil.
But each winter, when the cold weather rolled in, Sparks' teeny dining room would shrink by half.
The interior only tightly accommodated 45, though in warm weather, the patio doubled that.
"But when it got cold," says owner Jon Hunt, also of Rinata and Al Vento, "we'd look around and we wouldn't be busy. I think people were afraid we wouldn't be able to accommodate them, so instead of going to their neighborhood spot, they'd go to their friend's neighborhood restaurant."
Now that Sparks has expanded, Hunt says they're busy again.
In light of this expansion, chef Drew Ledo wants to emphasize that they're not only a pizza spot (fantastic as it is).
A nicely curated list of entrees is always available, and -- little known fact -- they're all also cooked in the wood oven, lending them each an intoxicating smokiness, like the proscuitto-wrapped, duxelle-stuffed monkfish with brussels and leek sabayon.
You'll also find a compelling Middle Eastern influence creeping into the corners of the menu, from hummus to smoked paprika popcorn to lamb merguez. Hunt says it's the influence of partner Amor Hanous, who is Tunisian.
"He said he always wanted to do the lamb merguez, and I said 'Perfect, because I always wanted to do a scratch pita.'"
The pitas are also wood-fired to order and boast the same crisp-roastiness as the pizza crust. The merguez sandwich is finished with house harissa and radish.
The cherry on top? They make scratch gelato, in vanilla, orange-cranberry, and pistachio.
Sparks is now taking reservations.
Sparks 230 Cedar Lake Rd. S., Minneapolis 612-259-8943
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