What kind of food do you crave after an hour or two of fondling joysticks, flipping flippers, mashing buttons, and having your senses assaulted by the unrelenting cacophony of dozens of video games — spanning four decades — blaring, blinking, screaming, and beeping all at once?
Pizza, dammit — you want pizza. Greasy, cheesy, cheap, satisfying pizza that you can chase with good beer in order to calm your nearly epileptic nerves and power up for that next Galaga battle. Up-Down Arcade has pizza, and you will eat it if you’re there, because pizza is what you eat at an arcade, and that’s that.
Up-Down is the maniacally busy epicenter of gaming, beer, and pizza that burst loudly onto the scene in the Lyn / Lake neighborhood of South Minneapolis this spring, making it the third location for this mini-franchise (which also operates in Des Moines and Kansas City, Mo). It’s a place that feels like an instant institution — something other cool cities have had for years, but until now, Minneapolis has lacked.
It’s a simple equation, but Up-Down executes it elegantly: great, nostalgia-inducing video games (think Punch-Out!!, Mortal Kombat, Gauntlet), great beer (five Surlys on tap, three Fultons including the new Standard Lager, five Indeeds, and some cool smaller brews like Blacklist and Maiden Rock), no kids, a full bar, no kids, and good pizza. What’s not to love? Did we mention that it’s always 21+?
In the back, there’s a window with a neon sign above it that’s impossible to miss: PIZZA. By the slice ($4 for cheese or pepperoni; $5 for specialties like buffalo chicken, mac and cheese, veggie, or meat), or gargantuan whole pies ($20 for cheese or pepperoni, $25 for specialties). It’s house-made (to what degree, we don’t know) and pretty damn satisfying within the arcade context. Anything fancier (like Neapolitan style) would just be weird.
These are large, heavy, droopy slices that tend to be nice and hot, with quality mozzarella (good pull, good chew), herby tomato sauce, and toppings that are fresh enough. Slap it on a paper plate, shake on some Parmesan and peppers, and everything feels right in the world — except that Donkey Kong just kidnapped the Princess, and you are compelled to finish that last bite, take a swig of beer, and kick that gorilla’s ass. There’s work to be done.
Arcade and Pizzeria in Uptown Minneapolis
3012 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Mon-Fri 3 p.m.-2 a.m.
Sat-Sun 11-2 a.m.
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED?: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: $8