It was on the day of the eclipse that Earl “Red” Schoenheider, the man who worked inside his cavernous namesake restaurant and bar every day for the past 52 years died. According to an article by the Pioneer Press, Red was not just a colorful figure often found sitting near the end of the bar, regaling everyone with his signature humor, he was also the “soul of the restaurant.” Without him, and facing six figure dollar renovation costs, the family has made the decision to close the business.
It was 1965 when Red purchased the Savoy Inn at 421 7th St East in St. Paul from the Morelli family and soon after bought the Sorini’s Pizza next door. After tweaking the recipe, the super cheesy, slightly spicy, square cut pizza with the garlic powder dusted crust became a neighborhood favorite.
Although it’s a family-friendly restaurant, Red’s Savoy has also maintained the easy air of a neighborhood bar. The lights are slow enough that it takes eyes a minute to adjust after walking inside. The wood laminate bar has a shelf for elbows, worn to an easy groove from years of regulars, blue-collar workers ending a long shift and regulars out on a date night. It harkens back to another era when beers at lunch were more regular and blue smoke hung low in the air. The pizza is served on lunch trays, with the cheese often bubbling over the edges of the crust.
The building is not ADA compliant and to get it up to code would require a significant investment. The restaurant had been franchised over the years and the 13 other restaurants that bear the name will continue to operate, including the White Bear Lake location owned by Red’s son, Rory Schoenheider.
The restaurant’s final day will be Sept. 16. It will be closed Labor Day then open from 4 p.m. until close every day after that until Sept. 16.
- Earl ‘Red’ Schoenheider, 82, was soul of Red’s Savoy Pizza for 52 years [PiPress]
- The original Red’s Savoy Pizza on East Seventh Street to close after its founder’s death [PiPress]
- The 20 Essential Pizzas of the Twin Cities [ETC]
- The 38 Essential Restaurants of the Twin Cities [ETC]