Aurelio’s Pizza

Hamline Center

Looking back now, it seems like my impression of the place isn’t much different from Aaron Landry’s. His review is what started me thinking about restaurant reviews in general, because his seemed more straightforward than most: decent background statement, simple choice of standardized menu items, and commentary that was not overly effusive. Nice.

What interested me most about the review was the fact that this was a place less than a mile from my apartment that I had never even heard of. Decent food in Roseville? What a concept! Then we went to the place. We ordered the same sort of thing we usually do—some sort of combination reasonably identifiable as the house pizza. It just plain sucked. The ingredients were less than fresh, the pizza was greasy, and huge chunks of bell peppers (which I detest on pizza) dominated the thing. How could two experiences be so far apart? I didn’t write anything then (months ago).

We vowed to go back, as Krista explained that most real food reviewers eat someplace at least three times before passing judgment. I can’t say that we’ve eaten there three times—just two—but the experiences (caused by our choice of item ordered) are radically different. Landry always orders a simple pepperoni or cheese pizza it seems; the second time, we just ordered a small pepperoni and mushroom.

Hamline Center

If it had a weak spot, it was the shriveled mushrooms which again seemed like they had been stored a bit long. The strength was the sauce, which was copious and somewhat sweet (as Landry had previously commented). But I have to say that I’m not really a pizza person, especially the simple ones. I have a problem digesting tomato sauce so what was an advantage to real pizza lovers made me grudgingly admit it was “pretty good” while suffering later from an overdose of tomato products.

Hamline Center

The onion rings we got as an appetizer are well worth revisiting, and I really liked the funky ambiance. When we arrived at around 2p.m., there was virtually no one there. The lights were out, and somewhat gruff man at the front (his help was late) fired everything up and did his best to make us comfortable. Ten minutes later, the waitress showed up and given the initial impression of disorganization, service was really good in the end. My only reservations, on the second visit, were questioning my somewhat rare desire to dine on pizza in the first place. If you love pizza, the place deserves consideration.

The high spot of my experience had little to do with the food: I love funky shopping centers. The tobacco store had gone out of business, and there was a strangely titled youth center. But as a dining destination, I must admit that I prefer the Old Chicago chain not far from here. The menu is broader and the service is pretty good if the place isn’t jam packed with sports fans. If this destroys my hipster cred, well, so be it.

2 thoughts on “Aurelio’s Pizza”

  1. I think it’s worth mentioning that these are the best onion rings I’ve had in Minnesota (closely followed by those at the St. Clair Broiler before they were bought out.) Also, the beer list is pretty much limited to MGD, but the lemonade is tasty enough to make up for it. I’d definitely go again.

  2. May I suggest running out to Hopkins on Shady Oak Road and visiting Treasures ‘N Treats to satisfy your strip-mall fascination?
    Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of tastiness nearby, except for the bowling alley down the street (good hot turkey and mashed potatoes).

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