Remember earlier in the summer when QC Pizza in Mahtomedi struck viral gold with their Big Dill pie? Presented on a malted crust topped with thick-sliced pickles, no red sauce, and flakes of dill, people either loved it, or loved to hate it. Either way it worked for the folks at QC Pizza, as lines to get your hands on those zingers topped two hours at one point.
Insert some time and distance into the mix, and the folks at Surly’s Pizza Upstairs have delivered a pickle pizza the people deserve, and it took just 10 minutes on a recent evening. Served on their signature "New Haven-style" bendable, chewy crust, they brought the suburban pickle pizza king’s game closer to home, and elevated it approximately 16 notches.
Note: Surly Brewing's never been big on being told how to manage flavor profiles, preferring to go big or go home, and their pizza game is no different in this respect. The Solenya doesn’t cater to those in the audience who cried foul at the QC original’s lack of red sauce—that’d ruin the whole shebang. Please feel free to continue debating whether this makes this tasty snack a “pizza” at all; Surly doesn't care.
Dressed with thinly cut, house-made semi-sweet pickles, garlic, onion, Havarti, and a veritable garden of fresh dill, the Solenya wants only for a crush of black pepper or drizzle of lemon (but that’s us being incredibly picky). Folding each slice made for the perfect delivery of all flavors in each bite, allowing the periodic but not oppressive pickle placement to co-mingle with the garlic and Havarti in each bite.
Like the menu reminds all customers in big, bold letters, their "pizza's not burned, it's charred." It’s this element of charring that cuts through the pickles’ acidity in a complementary fashion, which should set anyone's mind at ease if they're worried the vinegary nature of, well, anything pickled (be it cukes, onions, or whatever) might prove overpowering on pies as lithe as those served by Surly.
As an added bonus, we recommend you pair the Solenya with Harissa Roasted Cauliflower—because, as Health Partners loves to remind me, perfect as pizza seems, vegetables are important too. Marcona almonds and torn basil and mint leaves accompany the cauliflower florets, which have been tossed in a spicy, smoky glaze. The heap of health is served atop two mini-pools of tahini yogurt to temper and smooth the heat. The marconas’ tooth satisfies our caveman need to properly crunch some shit in every meal, while the harissa adds a dimension of fullness to the flavors decorating the table.
Leave it to Surly to tame the internet and convince us to eat our vegetables, all in one fell swoop. Get the Solenya while you can, as it’s their “featured pizza” and may be departing soon.
Surly Pizza Upstairs
520 Malcolm Ave. SE, Minneapolis