A piece of the urban pizza scene has made its way to Eden Prairie with Pizza Lucé’s ninth location, which opened in December. The local pizza company got its start in downtown Minneapolis in 1993 and has since spread its deliciously different pizzas across the Twin Cities and even up to Duluth.
Eden Prairie was a natural next step, co-owner JJ Haywood says. “Eden Prairie is a good spot for us,” she says. “It’s growing, it’s getting more diverse, it’s vibrant.” Though the former Don Pablo’s building wasn’t exactly what the urban brand was used to working with, it presented a fun challenge: “How can we make this a Pizza Lucé?,” Haywood recalls asking. “We looked at our beginnings in the warehouse district … so our aesthetic here is to make it a little more warehouse—bring a little bit of the city to the suburbs.”
For the uninitiated, Haywood describes Lucé’s pizza as “hand-tossed and leaning toward the gourmet side—just because we offer such a broad array of toppings.” Over 50 fresh toppings are offered for the pizzas, so you can customize or go with one of their specialties. Those range from traditional, like the Classic (Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives and mozzarella with red sauce) to obscure, like the Baked Potato Pizza (garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli, fresh tomatoes, cheddar cheese and chopped bacon with a side of sour cream), and everything in between. A favorite is the Athena, featuring spinach, tomato, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, red onions, oregano and (lots) of toasted garlic with mozzarella on bianca sauce. It’s vegetarian (can be made vegan) and is a classic Mediterranean crowd-pleaser.
Pizza Lucé offers some less-common ingredients for its pizzas:
- Vegan Bacon: From Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis.
- Rinotta Cheese: Vegan cheese made with cashews and tofu.
- Potatoes: Not just potato chunks or slices. These babies are mashed.
But, Haywood notes, it’s so much more than pizza. The homemade meatballs rival your Italian grandmother’s (don’t tell), and the various hoagies are perfect for lunch. If you’re more of a weekend food warrior, the brunch will keep you going. “Our brunch is really great, and everything is scratch-made,” Haywood says. Five different kinds of eggs benedict, scrambles, omelets, breakfast burritos, breakfast pizza and pancakes are just a sampling of the offerings to get your mouth watering. To wash it all down, the bloody Mary bar is famous for its array of mixes and garnishes.
Between brunch, pizza, appetizers, pasta and sandwiches, “We’re certainly an eclectic menu,” Haywood says. “We have something for everybody, which is one of the unique pieces for us. We get a lot of emails from people, who might have allergies or are gluten free or vegan, and they say, ‘Wow, I can bring my whole family here!’ So that’s always a positive aspect of what we do.”
With vegan cheeses, gluten-free crusts and vegan/vegetarian meat alternatives, Pizza Lucé can feed most diets, and it doesn’t slack on flavor. “We make our own vegan ricotta cheese called rinotta, made with cashews and tofu,” Haywood says. “One of the things we try to do with the vegan food is make sure it’s flavor forward. It’s really easy to not have that. You’ve got to amp things up, so vegans can have something delicious.”
The location has delivery, dine-in, a full bar and private dining for all your party needs. “We have a lot of demand, which is fun, for wedding-related events,” Haywood says. “Showers, groom’s dinners, we’ve catered weddings and supplied pizzas for the after parties.” But most of all, it has that taste of you’re living in the city: “It’s what people love and expect,” Haywood says.
A Match Made in Heaven
If you give a Minnesotan a slice of pizza, they’ll ask for a pint of beer. At Pizza Lucé, you can expect a handful of local beers to choose from to go along with your meal. “Each of the bars is managed locally,” Haywood says, so each location will have a slightly different selection based on what that community wants. But you can expect a few things: “Everybody’s going to be pouring a Surly Furious, a Summit EPA,” she says, as well as its winter collaboration beer with Tin Whiskers Brewery in St. Paul.
But we know not everyone cares for beer. And so does Pizza Lucé. Hard cider and wine will also be available and, for those looking to experiment, this location has a slushy machine. “The cocktail program will be a work in progress as we go through the winter and spring,” Haywood says, but expect frozé (frozen rosé wine) and other cocktail slushies to grace the menu.
If you’re looking for a recommendation, Haywood says she’s partial to IPAs: “To me those pair really well with the spicier pizzas we have. Big hoppy flavor and big pepper flavor.”
So belly up for a slice and pint (or a slushy or glass of wine), and we’ll see you there!