RIP to Meyvn but, my Lord, she couldn’t have been reincarnated any better. Prepare to bid a hearty buongiorno to the second, Minneapolis-based rendition of the much beloved St. Paul pizza and pasta palace, Mucci’s Italian.
Mucci’s Minneapolis opens its doors to the public for dinner service on Tuesday, July 2 in the former Meyvn space, at the corner of Lake Street and Bryant Avenue, but a few days beforehand I got a sneak peek into what co-owners Tim Niver and chef Chris Uhrich have in store. Fans of the original restaurant's food and ambiance will find the new Uptown location familiar, but not exactly the same. Seating about 85 people—roughly a quarter and change more than her sister shop—this Mucci’s will also soon have bonus outdoor seating, and finally accepts reservations.
Though I will miss Meyvn’s reuben with every inch of my heart, the space as it is now feels warmer. Clearly the building's size hasn’t changed from its deli days, but the addition of booths helps a lot, as do plants hanging from the ceiling—which, if they were part of Meyvn’s past, they went unnoticed.
Did being surrounded by greenery subconsciously bring out a stronger flavor of fresh basil in my pesto-smothered buffalo milk burrata? Who’s to say? Maybe! The playlist added a fun and upbeat feel to dining (including an appearance from the greatest pop song ever written: “The Middle” by Zedd), despite the dead-serious way Uhrich approaches the cuisine.
The wood-fired oven that cranked out Meyvn’s bagels has been repurposed to offer more pizza crust options beyond the fried Montanara-style Mucci’s has up 'til now been known for. Ope! This also lets Mucci’s Minneapolis offer Calzones Neopolitana. The most basic option comes filled with glorious garlic butter, mozzarella, and ricotta, dressed in red sauce and topped with fresh torn basil. Adding toppings is strongly encouraged. (Yes, glad you asked, fried chicken is an option!)
All of Mucci’s biggest hits are here—bucatini, lasagne made with “layers of love,” the Camilla pizza, and a shrimp scampi-ish tagliatelle unlike any other—along with a new choice between ordering full or half-sized pastas. But the Minneapolis location has some deep tracks uniquely its own, too. One of the standouts was the Prosciutto San Danielle: sliced avocado, prosciutto, and crumbled pistachios drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, served with puffed “pasta crackers,” which you can think of like noodle beignets. (Yes, I said “noodle beignets.”)
The beloved Mucci’s Juice and a killer wine list followed across the river, but ladies and gentlemen, I’m so pleased to announce there are cocktails at Mucci’s: The Sequel. Crafted from a deep menu of vermouths and amari, these aren’t your average drinks. We did a drive-by of nearly every concoction on the list; as long as you have a designated driver, that game plan is recommend. Mucci’s Minneapolis is among the only places in the U.S. pouring spirits from Bordiga distilleries—from floral gin to a green amaro. That said, get the house gin martini. Garnished with lemon rinds and an olive, it’s a super light and approachable version of a classic martini. Hell, I don’t even like gin and I’m saying this.
Despite all the changes, one thing is for certain: It’s damn nice having Niver & co. back on this side of the river. So kind of them to bring Mucci’s beloved menu mainstays in tow, while upping their game, too.
901 W. Lake St., Minneapolis