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Food & Drink

The Story Behind Slice Brothers’ Updated Name, New Locations, and Super-Speedy Growth

"It's been nothing short of a miracle, the love that we've gotten," says co-owner Adam Kado.

@slicebrotherspizza via Instagram|

The Slice Brothers celebrating the grand opening of their Midtown Global Market stand earlier this year.

It seems like there's always something to talk to Adam Kado and Hosie Thurmond about.

In October of 2021, we were chatting about the opening of their long-awaited northeast Minneapolis pizza shop, Slice, which had been in the works since 2019. Just a few months later, they were one of a handful of local restaurants showing support for striking teachers; two months after that, they had an announcement—Slice was headed for Midtown Global Market.

The news didn't stop there! This February, Kado and Thurmond shared the update that their New York-style pizza place was headed for St. Paul... and we didn't even get a chance to ask them about that before an announcement came earlier this month from Mall of America's PR team: Slice, now known as Slice Brothers, is heading for the old Thai Express spot at MOA.

On one hand, that's a lot of growth in not a lot of time. On the other? "The opportunity with the Mall of America is one of those things, like, you don't know if you'll ever get a shot at doing a deal with the Mall, and that type of audience," says Kado, adding that he's "humbled by it all, and still kind of taking it all in stride."

Slice Brothers will take over the Thai Express space in July, with an opening date scheduled for October. It's a more commercial space than the other Slice Brothers locations—especially Northeast, with its adorable pizza topping-painted sidewalk—but, "We're definitely gonna put our stamp on it, bring some meaning to it, tell our story throughout it, and have a space that really speaks for our brand," Kado says.

July will be a busy month for the pizza duo: It's also when the St. Paul Slice Brothers (641 University Ave W.) will open, with a grand opening slated for July 28.

"We're the only food option over there, in really what is, right now, kind of a food desert," Kado says. "Not a lot of businesses are willing to take a chance on St. Paul."

Kado likens that uncertainty to what they felt ahead of their Midtown Global Market stand; when they opened last year, the Lake Street shopping center was still recovering from the pandemic and the uprising after George Floyd's murder. These days, the market feels vibrant—"it's flourishing," Kado says.

This is also a full-circle moment for Kado and Thurmond, who were born and raised in St. Paul, and attended Central High and Harding High School, respectively. The pair always knew they eventually wanted to expand into the capitol city. "Every location means something. But providing jobs, and stimulating the economy in St. Paul is more of a highlight to me than anything I've done so far," Kado says.

As for the name... is it Slice? Or Slice Brothers? Have we been saying it wrong this whole time?

"I think we've been saying it wrong the whole time," Kado laughs. He and Thurmond weren't thinking about the brand from a trademarking, legal, logistical standpoint when they started out. Slice is kind of generic—there's a pizza ordering app called Slice already, for example—and though they haven't had any legal action brought against them so far, it felt smart to preemptively tweak the name.

"Also, Slice Brothers is—everybody knows me and Hosie as best friends. We've been best friends our whole lives, and so we're like brothers," Kado says. They built the business as brothers, more or less, and they want it to feel like a family-owned operation. (In many ways, it is: Thurmond's biological brother is a manager at one Slice Brothers location, and Kado's biological brother works at another.)

That perspective has also informed the way the pair view their business operations, and their relationship with the community. Kado feels like with each location, there's a greater responsibility. Their workers rely on them, and people look up to them as Black entrepreneurs. In fact, the Slice Brothers founders are the first Black-owned pizza place entrepreneurs in Minneapolis, a distinction that was honored by the Minneapolis City Council earlier this year.

They've gotten that appreciation back, and then some, which is part of why they've been able to grow so quickly.

"It's been nothing short of a miracle, the love that we've gotten," Kado says.

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