They make one of Minnesota’s best pizzas and the establishment’s B.Y.O.B.
It’s Ronnally’s in Woodbury. It’s simultaneously the best-tasting and most well-hidden diner in town. If you need to grab a six-pack and sneak away from the family, there might not be a better place on Earth.
We’ve got two holiday weekends coming up. Consider this your Christmas gift.
The Basics: Ronnally’s has been open since 1973, and hold down that janky strip mall on Valley Creek and Woodlane. Sharing their parking lot are neighbors like Hoffy’s Guns, Turbo Nails, and a talent … acquisition … something? I don’t know. They’re new. Ronallys.com.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. Had the dudes in Reservoir Dogs chosen pizza for breakfast, surely the backdrop would have looked like Ronnally’s. It’s a shoebox with an oven squeezed in. Ten groups could fit in there, maybe 11 if someone occupies that ominous table between the electrical box and bathroom entrances. This matters in 3 … 2 … 1 …
If you’re concerned about drunken roughhousing, don’t be. For one, see above. For two, Ronnally’s closes at 9 p.m. This is 100-percent a pizza place. If the environs themselves don’t ward off crapulence, the bread slices – Peterbilts of the side-of-bread world – will simply take too much space. Seriously, if you’re getting smashed in a place like this, you need help. And I don’t mean a driver.
For the temperate imbibers, a small up-charge gives you frosty mugs and fridge space if requested. This is a good place to try a new beer, or one with a readable container, because there isn’t a lot to do while your order’s prepared. You could check out the paintings, imagine paying $300-plus for them, and feel yourself sadden … but I think we’d all agree that reading a beer box would be much groovier.
Two things happen at Ronnally’s, always. We order a medium pizza, and we order Ronnally’s mac-n-cheese.
Check out that pasta plate, how it looks like a whole family huddled under a blanket. When it arrives, you can hear the cheese still sizzling on the outer edges. Beware: Touch this thing early and you’re liable to burn off your fingerprints MIB-style.
If this dish had been served up on Family Matters, Steve Urkel’s cheese club would’ve grown into a cult. Fork up a noodle (it’s more of a penne alfredo, really) and watch the pearly runoff slide its way back onto your plate, or just whip it into your mouth quick. There’s a smidgen of seasoning, just enough to give it That Little Something, but you’re mostly just getting gratuitous cheese and perfectly-cooked noodles.*
The pizza is a floppy, cheesy, over-sauced, crust-can-barely-hold-up-the-toppings, resplendent circle of wonder. Ronnally’s goes thin crust, heavy everything else. The best slices are the ones you have to fold, and believe me – you fold Ronnally’s. You fold Ronnally’s after you re-cut the pizza, because the cheese mends itself back together again, over and over, like Wolverine.
This step is key: Request pie slices. Square-cut pizzas are like travel agents. They’re still around, though.
It’s unfair that two dishes this great have to fight over belly space, so do what I do: Run your slice through the pasta sauce, or scoop a heap of noodles right onto it. That way, they fatten you together! Oh, you don’t think that looks classy? If you’re at Ronnally’s, you’re either sipping from a frosty beer mug or one of those crusty red pop tumblers. Take your delusions of grandeur over to Sunsets. EDITOR’S NOTE: Sunsets is closed.
The experience of ordering delivery from Ronnally’s was a risky proposition at best back in my Woodbury days, but the sign shines the brightest when you’re dining in anyway. Stop at that honking MGM Booze Mausoleum across the lot, grab your hooch, and leave your crazy in-laws behind. Woodbury’s got some awfully fancy-looking strip malls, but the best way to get off the grid is to sneak into the parking lot with the gun shop and let the good times roll.
*This was where I tried to make a new word out of “noods,” but quickly realized that wasn’t going to work.