Pepperoni Pizza at Geek Love at Moon Palace Books

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

What does it take to build a community? The newly relocated Moon Palace Books is putting in the work to create a gathering space in Longfellow, and based on a vibrant mix of customers late yesterday morning, the pieces are coming together. There were people buying books, people entertaining their kids in the kids’ section, and people dining — alone or with friends or family — at the just opened Geek Love Cafe at the back of the bookstore. Taken as a whole, it created the feel of a lively place where people were coming together to read, talk, and eat.

The menu at Geek Love is simple — pizzas, wings, and salads, with a short but well-curated beer menu. We went basic, grabbing some wings and a couple of hot-and-ready slices. The pizza itself is simultaneously nothing special and precisely right. It’s thin, foldable, greasy, a bit charred, with some toothsome texture imparted by cornmeal: a decent approximation of a run-of-the-mill New York slice at a reasonable price ($4.50). The menu’s distinct lack of frills fits the space: comfortable booths with tabletops showing off covers from classic books, and a menu aimed at speed and comfort rather than ambition or pretense.

With the opening next door later this year of the Arbeiter brewery, Moon Palace/Geek Love seems well positioned to be the living room from a fast-evolving Longfellow neighborhood.

Moon Palace Books and Geek Love Cafe, 3032 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, 612.454.0455

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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