Look, nobody likes indulging a Redditor's bid for attention. Especially when they're into crypto.
But it's the curse of the alternative journalist: When you learn of a meme-based, virality-baiting pizza shop in your area, you're obligated to go see what it's about. And this is why, after seeing a few tweets about a new St. Paul pizzeria called Doge Pizza, I placed an order and hopped in the car.
Doge Pizza's story begins with a post in the dogecoin subreddit earlier this year. "If doge hits $0.50 in 30 days, I will name my new pizza shop 'Doge Pizza,' Reddit user never_stop_selling promised the subreddit's 2.2 million "subshibers" (kill me) several months ago. The post has been upvoted more than 3,000 times.
"I have decided to be the first 'Doge Pizza' pizza shop and start a meme restaurant revolution!" they wrote in an update with more than 9,000 upvotes and 1,000 comments, including my favorite: "This is a business with a meme theme not a meme business right?" In some ways, isn't that the defining question of our times?
Doge Pizza is located at 629 Aldine St., the building that used to house Eureka Compass Vegan Foods. Its pies include the Buffalo Chicken Pizza (Much Wow), Heavenly Hawaiian (The 69), and Totally Vegan (Many Delicious).
We went with the Much Wow and the Supreme (Diamond Hands), plus an order of Garlic Balls. And I have to admit, I stand corrected... or if not corrected, at least somewhat chastened.
The two guys running the place were some of the friendliest folks you could hope to meet: patient on the phone, chatty with people waiting to pick up pies, asking everyone to offer feedback and let them know what was working. This is a solid location for a pizzeria, too—there aren't a ton of other options in its Hamline-Midway area.
They gave me a surprise discount on the order for calling and picking up, bringing two topping-heavy 10-inch pies and an order of knots to about $27. (A lot of their business is on the apps.) And I liked the pizza! But the garlic balls, served dripping in oil and perfectly crispy-chewy, were the standout. They rival Uptown Pizza's, which I personally believe to be the gold standard for garlic knots in the Twin Cities.
If you go, know that Doge Pizza is very much still in the soft-open stage—the empty cardboard from their "open" sign and menu-display flatscreen were still sitting around when I picked up my order—so be patient, be kind, and look for their grand opening in a few weeks.
Will this be the start of a "meme restaurant revolution?" God I hope not. Did I learn more about dogecoin from Googling the names of these pizzas than I'd learned since the cryptocurrency was created in 2013? Regrettably, yes. Does it make me a little bit sad that a community-oriented vegan restaurant and grocery store—which is currently operating as a pay-what-you-can popup at area shops and churches—is now a Reddit joke pizza place? It does (although it sounds like Eureka Compass has some big stuff in the works as well).
But I also think this'll be a great spot for the pizza-eating people of the neighborhood. In fact, on the way out the door, Doge Pizza's proprietors wondered about an app delivery driver who was super late for an order. "They live like... right there. Let's just take it." These are the people you want in your city.
Crypto may be confusing, imaginary bullshit. But pizza is very real.