Fireside Pizza in Richfield, MN
If the Richfield water tower is the north anchor of the 66th and Penn corridor, Fireside Pizza is the south. In business for 50 years, Fireside Pizza looks the part of a small-town eatery and gathering place; it’s lined with local sports memorabilia and photos of little league teams the joint has sponsored. The atmosphere has a homey, dark-wood-booth vibe including two floor-to-ceiling plastic trees and — yes — a fireplace. There’s also a patio.
Cheese bread is a stand-out dish in keeping with the place’s style: A half-order for $3.95 contained three slices of crisp Italian bread loaded with melted pizza cheese. Delicious. “Just enough grease,” said my friend. Served with a bowl of warm red sauce, it was hearty and well-executed.
When it comes to pizza, the Fireside focus seems to be above the crust, which is a glorified Saltine: white-flour, crisp, and ultra-thin. As a whole, the pizza lacks the complex layers and creative flavors of local stalwarts like its thin-crust competitor, Red’s Savoy, and Pizza Luce — maybe, however, that’s the point. The toppings are hit or miss — on one visit, a custom pizza came topped with a few mealy Roma slices, tasteless mushrooms and onions, and average pepperoni. On a second visit, a sausage-and-sauerkraut pizza was better. Low on sauce, with just the right amount of cheese, everything above the crust was tasty and picture-perfect.
Overall value is moderate at best: a small cheese pizza, which one semi-burly adult with any sort of stomach could easily polish off, runs $9.45; toppings are $1.25. Larges start at $11.49. Consider the following when ordering: This is thin-crust pizza and you can eat a lot of it.
Spaghetti and meatballs weren’t exceptional, but adequate. The plump meatballs had a nice char, as though they had been cooked on a griddle, and the slightly spicy sauce (same as with the cheese bread appetizer) was delicious.
A ham grinder (or “sandwich,” if you prefer), served cold was the best deal at $6.95. It arrived layered generously with ham, tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheddar, and “special sauce.”
BEST BET: Cheese bread with red sauce, a mid-American classic done true to form, or the ham sandwich.
Pizza in Richfield
6736 Penn Ave S
Richfield, MN 55423
OWNER: Rich Thompson
ENTREE RANGE: $7-15
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
BAR: Beer and wine