Pizza Coming To 54th and Nicollet

Toppers taking over former Back Porch Coffee space.

Once, visitors to the former home of Betsy’s Back Porch Coffee would have been greeted and the door with the earthy aroma of fresh-brewed coffee. Soon, patrons will meet the sweet smell of freshly-baked pizza: a Toppers Pizza franchise is slated to open there this Saturday, June 9.

The restaurant joins a slew of local pizza joints:

  • at 50th and Penn
  • at 56th and Xerxes
  • at 54th and Lyndale 
  • at 50th and Ewing
  • at 50th and Washburn
  • at 60th and Penn
  • Two Papa John's locations, at and .

This won't be owner David Henze's first brush with making pizza. On graduating from college a few years ago, in the midst of the worst job market he'd ever known, Henze decided he'd rather make his own job.

"I just put my entrepreneurial cap on," he said, taking advantage of contacts and experience gained in college job working in marketing at Toppers' Wisconsin headquarters.

He opened his first Toppers franchise in East Bloomington.

Despite being part of a larger brand, Henze said opening this location has been "like opening any new small business." 

"I gave myself the title of 'fireman,'" he told Patch, laughing. "Every time I wake up, I'm putting out fires left and right. It's the nature of the business, but it's also what I enjoy doing and I really like the challenges."

Those challenges, he said, like doing back-office work or scouting for a new location sometimes keep him from doing his favorite thing—working in his restaurant's kitchen making pizza.

Southwest Minneapolis may be famous for its dizzying array of creative restaurants and pubs, but Henze said he thinks he'll be able to fit in well, with 5,000 theoretical combinations of crusts, toppings, and cheeses.

The new restaurant's delivery area will stretch from 42nd Street in the north to 66th Street in Richfield, and from France Avenue in the west to Cedar Avenue in the east. Online orders will be accepted via toppers.com and Henze, a former military man himself, said veterans will receive discounts, and can come to him for help, if need be.


Ed. Note: If you've got a favorite local pizza joint, click their name in the list above, and add your praise to their Patch directory listing. 

Dave Timmons June 04, 2012 at 05:27 PM
You neglected to mention Michelangelo's Pizza at 50th & Washburn Avenue South. They have been there a lot longer than some of the other pizza places you mentioned. And at one time was owned by Roger Awsumb, who played Casey Jones on TV. Carbone's Pizza is also a fantastic local shop with locations all over the metro, with a shop at 50th Ewing. They were voted best pizza by Mpls/St.Paul Magazine. And there is Mozza Mia in the Edina-50 strip by 50th & France, if you want to spend a few more $$$ on more creative dining. I've never heard of Toppers, but if you want to avoid the cookie cutter franchise pizza, any of the above will give you an excellent experience. Lake Harriet and Carbone's are my favorite.
James Sanna (Editor) June 04, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Oh, you're right! I'm sorry! Mozza Mia is technically in Edina, though... Hey, you should go over to the Patch directory listings for Lake Harriet Pizza (http://southwestminneapolis.patch.com/listings/lake-harriet-pizza) and Carbone's Pizza (http://southwestminneapolis.patch.com/listings/carbones-pizzeria-14) and leave a note about why you like 'em. That way, folks who look up those places will see your recommendations.
Mariellen Jacobson June 04, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Hey, don't forget the wonderful pizzas at Broders Deli!


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