Visit White Bear Lake or Excelsior for a delicious slice from these little-known local favorite

Image by magdal3na/fotolia

By Charles Brandt

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you can never have too many great pizza places to visit. Luckily, I live in the Twin Cities. We have some great contenders out there after our taste buds when we get the craving for some cheese and pepperoni. The Carbone family has roots that reach back almost a century, eventually turning a small grocer into the Carbone’s Pizzeria we know and love today. Pizza Luce is another favorite around the Twin Cities, along with Broadway Pizza and Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza. Each of these pizzerias, along with many others around the Twin Cities, have their own unique style and taste. Some are classic Italian pies that remind me of my time in New York, while others are more reminiscent of high school parties and growing up in Minnesota. But a couple years ago I added a newcomer to my list of “go-tos”: Olive’s Fresh Pizza Bar.

When asked to describe it, I usually just break down and use it as an excuse to go there again with friends. “I’d rather have you try it,” I say, already thinking about what I’m going to order. But since I can’t bring you all along, let’s look at some of their menu.

Pizza and Salads

It’s all wood fire pizza with hand-made dough, with a ton of original creations. Pro tip: You can do half and half if you want to try more than one. First off, there’s no use in talking about Olive’s unless we touch on the Fresno, with a garlic olive oil base, shredded mozzarella, caramelized fig, thin sliced red onion, gorgonzola, prosciutto, aged balsamic glaze, fresh sliced pear, shaved parmesan, and garnish of gourmet greens. For those who want a bit more of a classic taste, I’d recommend the Cecilia, it still has the garlic olive oil base, but it’s covered in blue cheese, fresh mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni, red onions and fennel seeds.

Reaching even further out of the norm, Olive’s Alaskan pizza, has cream cheese, smoked wild-caught salmon, sweet onion, caper, fresh dill and shaved parmesan. This may have you redefining what you actually consider pizza to be from here on out, as will the Greek gyro pizza, or some of the monthly specials that Olive’s dishes out.

The salads are also excellent, and though you’ll definitely fill up on pizza afterwards, they’re good for sharing with friends while you enjoy some wine or beer before your meal. I’d personally suggest the House Salad, which has mixed greens, dried cranberry, glazed walnuts, gorgonzola cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette.

Hours and Locations
Olive’s currently has two locations, though I can only personally vouch for the White Bear Lake location. But if the quality of food and staff is the same in Excelsior, you won’t regret visiting. Mind their hours though, as the White Bear Lake location doesn’t open until 4 p.m. and both are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Olive’s Fresh White Bear Lake
4746 Washington Square, White Bear lake
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday through Sunday: 4 – 10 p.m.

Olive’s Fresh Excelsior
287 Water Street, Excelsior
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday and Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

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