607 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Open 11 am to 3 am, 7 days a week
GPS coordinates–N 44º56.889′ W093º17.221′
by Kevin Wynn
Only a Norwegian would go to eat at an Italian restaurant on an Irish holiday, but I’ve never given more than a casual nod to the Irish part of my heritage and green beer is not for me. So this is why I find myself at Dulono’s Pizza on St. Patrick’s Day. It turns out Dulono’s was founded over 40 years ago by DUane and LONnie Anderson. There’s not an Italian to be found as far as I can see, but I should be right at home with my fellow Scandihooveans. On a quiet Monday night with only a few neighborhood folks, a traveling business man and a Minneapolis police officer in the place, it’s a vastly different atmosphere than when I’ve been here before, on “First Thursday”.
Anyone who has any interest in the Twin Cities bike “scene” knows of First Thursday, the sometimes wild, always colorful gathering of riders that takes place on the first Thursday night of each month. What started as the monthly meeting of the Twin Cities Norton Owners Club evolved, with the help of publicity in a couple national motorcycle magazines, and then a mention on AM1500’s “Garage Logic” show with Joe Soucheray, into an oversized, occasionally overwhelming display of bikes and riders. It attracts hundreds of riders on warm summer evenings and bikes of all sizes, ages and ethnic origins. It’s a mixed blessing, bringing vast numbers of people to Dulono’s from all over the metro area, but disputes with neighbors over parking, noise and litter outside. And inside, while the place may be packed, there are so many people coming and going that customers sometimes disappear before their orders arrive, and waitresses don’t always get the consideration they deserve (i.e. there are too many lousy tippers). Still, Dulono’s appreciates the business enough to put up with the negative aspects. Hopefully those of you reading this will remember this gentle chiding, and help to keep this a welcome event for the residents of the nearby homes and the staff at Dulono’s, setting a good example for the non MMM-reading heathens out there.
On First Thursdays, Dulono’s serves pizza by the slice, and I’ve occasionally gone inside with a group of friends to share a pizza, but I’ve often wondered what else was on the menu and what the atmosphere was like on a more typical night. What I found is a pleasant neighborhood restaurant and pub with some surprising menu items. For instance, I’ve seen seafood served in some unusual ways, but I’ve never seen a Catfish Sub before. My first thought was that it must come as a catfish version of a tuna salad sandwich, but it’s actually a batter-fried fillet on a submarine roll. I didn’t try it this time, but I will on my next visit. They make a Cod Sub too!
For this visit, I tried one of Dulono’s house specialties, the Meatball Sub. It arrived on a hot platter, an oversize sandwich with mildly seasoned meatballs, covered with tomato sauce and cheese, and baked in the pizza oven. Practically a meal for two, it made great leftovers for lunch the next day. In order to get a flavor (so to speak) for the pasta I ordered the Beef Ravioli. Tangy, sweet and mildly spicy all at the same time, a nice combination, and served with choice of garlic bread or “freedom bread”.
As I watched President Bush’s speech this particular Monday night, the nation standing on the brink of war with Iraq, it somehow seemed fitting to try an All-American pizza. This is very much like a cheeseburger made into a pizza, complete with hamburger, cheddar cheese, pickles and onions. I’d suggest adding a little mustard to really finish it right, but either way it was really good.
A few of the other interesting looking items on the menu include the “Kurtz Special”, reportedly named after a customer who kept ordering the same sausage, mushroom and extra sauce combination until he was immortalized on the menu. The Caribbean Jerk Grilled Chicken Breast sandwich looks tasty, and what South Minneapolis bar and grill menu would be complete without a California Veggie Burger? Not for me, but maybe someone you know would like it.
Friday and Saturday nights Dulono’s features live bluegrass music, if you’re interested.
Dulono’s is famous for it’s monthly bike night, and maybe for being a bonus location in the 1999 IronButt Rally, but it’s a nice joint with good food the rest of the month too. Even a Norwegian can see that. Check it out for yourself.
Eat well. Ride well.