Red’s Savoy takes on Uptown

Legendary Red’s Savoy pizza opens up shop in place of Golooney’s

Hopefully this Savoy is in a less motorcycle-unfriendly location.

Jules Ameel

Hopefully this Savoy is in a less motorcycle-unfriendly location.

The original RedâÄôs Savoy Pizza in St. Paul is a rare hybrid of a family dinner joint and a dive bar. Upon entry, looking right exhibits a line of world-weary souls drinking at the bar and looking left finds clusters of kids waiting for tables, staring at the giant aquarium and wall-covering TV screen. Now, Minneapolis is getting its own Savoy as the franchise expands to Uptown. Opening this month, can this location gain the cult following of the Seventh Street original? The first RedâÄôs Savoy has a notably moody wait staff and a dark history. Cursed as a bad location on the corner on Highway 52 , the restaurant was forced to build a concrete barrier after a motorcyclist crashed into the restaurant, skidding all the way into the bar . Nevertheless, Savoy addicts are connected to the location, committed to unapologetically calorie-filled pizza, and they consider bantering with irritable waitstaff as fair price. But the Uptown location doesnâÄôt rely on momentum from the original Savoy. Its space is far from errant motorcycle paths and the kids behind the counter are mostly college-aged, bohemian types who know their please-and thank-yous. Expectations are already high for SavoyâÄôs presence in Uptown. Troy Stark, one of the franchiseâÄôs many owners, says that before the restaurant opened, a woman stuck her head out of her car and, upon confirming that it was in fact a RedâÄôs Savoy, shouted, âÄúMy prayers have been answered!âÄù The Uptown Savoy is smaller than the St. Paul location, with only seven booths and a few tables making up the seating area. ThereâÄôs no room for a full-on bar, but the owners are hoping to acquire a liquor license to sell beer and wine. âÄúThereâÄôs a long way to go before this thing is dialed in the way I want it to be,âÄù Stark says. The counters are painted farmhouse red and the tables are covered in checkered tablecloths, giving the place a malt shop ambience. Posters for acts like Ted Leo and hip-hop collective Doomtree cover the walls, and the bathrooms are labeled menâÄôs or womenâÄôs in the form of Mexican wrestler paintings (the woman wrestler is naked). The pizza at Savoy is prototypically American pizza. Thin crust, square-cut slices act as temporary resting places for piles of mozzarella and whatever ingredients are atop it. ItâÄôs the kind of pizza you need to eat with a knife and a fork. Among traditional toppings, there is also a white pizza with fresh garlic and a spicy chicken pizza with tangy alfredo sauce, red onions and banana peppers. But not everyone is ready to be satisfied with the gooey slices of Savoy legend. The Uptown franchise ran into some trouble when it opened shop in the place of GolooneyâÄôs East Coast Pizza . Hardcore GolooneyâÄôs fanâÄôs like fifth-year mechanical engineering student Peter Leeman are mournful that GolooneyâÄôs has shut its doors. âÄúAlthough I only had a basic thin crust pizza at Savoy, I thought it did not live up to a comparable Golooney’s pizza ,âÄù Leeman says, âÄúOne good thing I did notice was that, for some reason, there is a higher percentage of cute girls working at Savoy.âÄù Stark realized that resentment for the loss of GolooneyâÄôs was going to be a problem quickly, but decided to do something about it when the electrician he hired showed up at the location expecting to buy a hot GolooneyâÄôs sandwich before starting work. âÄúHe was like, âÄòI need a chicken philly,âÄô âÄú Stark explains, âÄúI was like fine, executive decision âÄî weâÄôre keeping the phillies.âÄù Because of the decision to continue serving some of GolooneyâÄôs specials, the Uptown Savoy has a different menu than the others. Most of the hot sandwiches are borrowed from GolooneyâÄôs, with two kinds of phillies and a beef & cheddar. There are several cold sandwiches served on eight-inch baguettes and one of SavoyâÄôs most unique appetizers is the broccoli cheddar pizza fries, which are made from a base of cut up strips of pizza crust. Stark hopes to open another Savoy in Northeast Minneapolis, this one with a full bar. With so many franchises, could Savoy be the next Caribou Coffee? Not quite. Stark explains that that the owner Red has a definite limit to tweaks in the franchises, frequently saying, âÄúI donâÄôt want it to turn into Subway .âÄù No skinny Jared to be found here.