Football Pizza, 2339 Central Avenue NE

img_3143.jpg“Are you a health inspector?” Shortly after I take my place at a table a man named Joe stops by and in a benign manner asks me this unexpected and potentially disconcerting question. I tell him that I’m just here to eat, and ask him what he does. “I do some maintenance around here.” He sets his reading glasses and water bottle on my table and disappears into another area of the building.

At Football Pizza, one orders at the counter. img_3148.jpgOptions include pizza and Afghan dishes. I order bean korma from the guy at the counter, who tells me his name is Wais. Later I learn that he is the owner of the building and the business. I ask what happened to Crescent Moon Bakery, the former occupant of this location. He tells me that it is still Crescent Moon, but because of the pizza factory, they changed the name to reflect that, so people know where the pizzas are made. Along with eat-in and take-out, one can buy frozen pizzas and bags of pita bread.

Why “Football Pizza”? I discover that the pies are football-shaped. Based on the name of the establishment, one might mistake this for a sports bar, but that would be an error.However, there are TVs, including a huge one right across from where I sit. The set is tuned to TNT, which is broadcasting a movie featuring a man with a sewn-together face that looks like the work was done by a complete stitching novice. Terrible and not terribly appetizing.IMG_3147I remain undeterred, attempting to not look at the giant TV screen, especially while eating.

After I get my plentiful plate of food, Wais comes over to deliver a pitcher of water. He explains that the place is not busy today due to the Ramadan fast. Normally, he said, they do a great business, and are starting a lunch buffet in addition to the current evening buffet. In the windows and inside hang many “Best of” awards, mainly for the pizza, which lead me to plan a future return visit to sample a signature football-shaped pie.

The tasty bean korma is neatly served with a lemon wedge, seasoned rice topped with raisins, a lettuce salad, and quarter of toothsome pita. For those who may be wondering, IMG_3145
Afghan bean korma is made of beans, in this case kidney and chickpeas, and onions, served in a tasty thick sauce. When I eat the leftovers at home, I will add a dollop of plain yogurt.

In the course of our conversation, Wais mentions how NE Minneapolis is changing, noting that home prices have doubled. I share that the impending transformation is one the motivating factors in my “Eating (and Lunching) Up Central” project. He approves.

Jim stops by for his reading glasses but leaves his water. With a pleasant nod, he leaves.

Until next week from Adelita’s Mexican Restaurant, stay cool and be good.

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