By 3:45 p.m. on Friday September 15, the line was already snaking out the door and wrapping around the back of Red’s Savoy Inn. The restaurant opened for its final Friday service on East 7th Street just fifteen minutes later and diners raced to find a seat. As anxious pizza lovers jockeyed for space the servers warned in a no-nonsense tone that orders would be served into the kitchen as soon as possible, but pizza, might include some waiting.
Customers comforted themselves with sodas and large glasses of beer and waited patiently in the convivial atmosphere for those extra cheesy, square cut pizzas served on plastic lunch trays.
It was 1965 when Earl “Red” Schoenheider purchased the Savoy Inn at 421 7th St East in St. Paul from the Morelli family, of nearby Morelli’s Liquor and Italian market. Red 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.
Red passed away last month, on the day of the eclipse and soon afterward, the family made the difficult decision to close down the restaurant that had become a neighborhood institution.
To be able to remain in business, the family would have had to completely remodel the restaurant to be ADA compliant and the cost was just too great.
The Red’s Savoy Pizza brand was franchised, and there are several other locations that remain open. The original was the sole restaurant owned by Red and the only one where he oversaw the recipes, and keeping some written only in notes.
The family gave fans a couple of weeks and announced that Saturday September 16 would be the last day at the original location and there were lines every night up until then. And now, Red’s Savoy Inn pizza is just another restaurant memory.