The space is cozy and seating is on a first come first serve basis. However, the adept service staff still manages to make waiting a part of the dinner experience.
Schooled at uNIVERsity
The restaurant is owned by Tim Niver. He's half the successful duo behind The Strip Club Meat & Fish and Saint Dinette. Niver is known far and wide for his particular brand of sincere, convivial hospitality. (Read more about his style here.) From his early days at Aquavit to the current jeans and t-shirt family style, he's leading a new generation of front of house masters by bring more into his restaurant family. The front of house staff inside Mucci's is no exception. They immediately take the diner into their comfort zone.
Named for the ladies (mostly)
The fried pizzas (that's pizza dough that takes a quick bath in hot oil before being topped and baked off) are mostly named for important ladies loved by the restaurant. The Cushy (creme fraiche, eggs, mozzarella, locatelli and arugula) is named for Niver's wife. Audrey (pepperoni) is in honor of chef/Mucci partner Chris Uhrich's daughter and Niver's mom, who share the name; Beazy is for Uhrich's wife (meatballs and ricotta). Kenzie-Jo (creme fraiche, pears, pecans, pancetta with red wine reductions) is the chef de cuisine. Meanwhile, the Jane is so named because it's plain and Delilah's sausage, spinach, la bomba and mozzarella is so named because it's a cool name. All are priced between $11-14.
More than just pizza
The menu is stacked with old school dishes that are enough to make a person wonder, how did this stuff ever fall out of fashion? Crazy crispy, tender seafood misto ($10) is a mix of oysters, calamari and clams on a bed of zesty aioli and arugula. A bowl of two meatballs in a perfect tomato sauce with Parmesan cheese is just $5. Fresh pasta is made in house, including spaghetti, rigatoni, agnolotti, angel hair (in a devilish sauce) and tagliatelle so pretty it's got to be destined for the cover of a magazine. There is also a selection of entrees like chicken Parmesan, pork cutlet and barramundi tucked into parchment paper. The top price on the entire menu is a substantial lamb shank for $26. Most are under $20. Also, ask about dessert: It's more than just a suggestion on the menu, but possibly a demand because that tiramisu stack is other-wordly.
There's prosecco on tap and a beer. That's right. One. Although, there are several tasty selections by bottle, the one tap is reserved for an Italian style pilsner from Bang Brewery that's made with just a hint of Aames Farm honey. There are also plenty of wines available by the half glass, full glass or bottle.
Don't forget the doughnuts
The initial run of doughnuts sold out quickly last weekend, but don't worry. There will be more this weekend when the restaurant opens in the a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
786 Randolph Ave. St. Paul, MN
Tuesday - Thurday: 5pm - 10pm
Friday - Saturday: 5pm - 11pm
Sunday: 5pm - 9pm
Saturday & Sunday
8am until they're gone!
(No later than 12pm.)