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Best Budget Bites: $4.50 Slice and a Pop from Fast Eddie’s Pizza

Are the rumors true, is Eddie's really the torchbearer of the ol' Beek's Pizza recipe? We asked!

The cost of things these days? Far too expensive! Inflation, supply chain, giddy price gouging from proprietors large and small—the boring factors are too numerous to count. To protect our readers, Racket recently launched the Best Budget Bites series, where we’ll showcase a toothsome, wallet-friendly food item that’ll actually fill you up. Have a nomination? Hit us up: tips@racketmn.com.

What: Slice of pizza and pop 
Where: Fast Eddie’s Pizza, 4747 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis
Cost: $4.25
Availability: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

On a recent weekday, I spotted a sandwich board on Nicollet Avenue advertising a lunch value: “$3.50 slice cheese ADD A CAN OF SODA ONLY 50¢.” ¢! A symbol so archaic that I immediately explored the business behind the sign to make sure I hadn’t time traveled to an earlier era when a pop costs just two quarters.

I entered Fast Eddie’s Pizza, a hole-in-a-strip mall tucked in between Xin Wong Chinese Restaurant and C & G’s Smoking Barbeque in south Minneapolis. Inside, I smelled a welcoming deep fryer aroma, heard a mellow recording of the Dead’s “Casey Jones," and counted nine adolescents scarfing slices. It was a high school zone, not a time warp! An enthusiastic employee assured me that even though school ends soon, the low lunch prices, good from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, will run through the summer, too. 

“I love cheap lunch deals,” I said, and snapped a picture of another sign advertising $1.50 Nathan’s All Beef hot dogs. “It could be free,” the employee said, and described how, every morning, they roll a 10-sided die app to generate a winning number of the day. Pointing to one of the teenagers hunched over his pizza and Coke, he exclaimed, “He’s won three times!”

I missed the lucky lotto by just four integers, but my single slice and soda (which actually costs 75¢, not 50¢ as advertised outside) plus credit card fee, tax, and tip rang up to just over $5, which still felt like a giveaway. 

The lunch special is a visually pleasing meal with almost cartoonish symmetricality. The equilateral 'za triangle no doubt gets its shape from a regular pie that's been cut into fourths—these are honkin' "slices." On subsequent visits I tried the sausage slice, which cost $4 and was topped with 15 equidistantly spaced Italian spiced balls of ground pork; and the pepperoni slice, also $4, which held 10 precisely placed flavorful discs.

This exceedingly affordable and geometrically satisfying meal tasted classically delicious. The crust was crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle, resisting any sog from the layer of tasty, tomato paste-y sauce. A substantial amount of gooey, slightly smokey mozzarella nicely balanced the meat heat. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, except for the cost-per-bite ratio that sated my appetite and my thrift-seeking sensibilities. 

Longtime south Minneapolis residents who remember Beek’s—a local pizzeria chain with several locations, including a storefront on 54th & Lyndale that burned down in a three-alarm blaze in 2013 and a St. Louis Park location that closed in 2016—may have heard a rumor that Fast Eddie’s Pizza uses Beek’s recipe.

This lore doesn’t line up with my own culinary memory of Beek’s ultra-thin crust and sweet sauce, so I asked Fast Eddie’s Pizza owner Michael Sloan about it. He told me that he doesn’t use the Beek’s recipe. Beek’s and Fast Eddie’s used to be owned by the same person, and when Sloan purchased Fast Eddie’s in 2001, because of a non-compete clause, he couldn't use the formula for Beek’s sauce.  

“The sauce is not Beek’s sauce,” Sloan says. “We serve the closest thing to Beek’s, but it’s not Beek’s. Maybe it’s better, I don’t know.”

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