While the biggest pizza-related news of the month is definitely the grand opening of Mucci’s Italian, the hottest pizza party for 4-year-olds happened at DeLeo Bros. Pizza in Edina’s Southdale Center mall.
As we’ve previously pointed out, finding restaurants that both tired parents and their kiddos will enjoy (absolutely zero disrespect to Parkway Pizza and the McDonald’s Play Place, which are the 4-year-old dinner GOATs) is as challenging as convincing your son he can’t just pee outside anywhere, at any time. But with a Super Mario Bros.-inspired exterior and can’t-miss menu of dough, sauce, and cheese, it felt like it could be the move.
The selling point of DeLeo Bros. is that it’s a time warp straight to the 1980s. As a 37-year-old exhausted dad, this falls directly into my nostalgia sweet spot, and gave me the chance to impart some important life lessons on my impressionable child, much like I did when I taught him to pee outside. (I created the monster, but I couldn’t control it.)
The walls are plastered with old movie posters and magazine ads that took me back immediately. The “Save the Clocktower” flyer from Back to the Future, an autographed 8x10 from Ed McMahon, and most importantly, an actual red-and-yellow, devil-voiced Speak & Spell. Granted, there are some generational differences between me and my child. For example, a giant box television playing a classic episode of Diff'rent Strokes greeted you when you first walk into the restaurant. Upon seeing the TV, my kid decided he had zero interest in whatever life lesson Todd Bridges was learning from Muhammed Ali, and shouted, “Google! Play Rescue Bots!” After a few more failed voice commands, he abandoned his plan and decided to see what else the restaurant had to offer.
In the back of the restaurant is a video arcade stocked with vintage games and pinball machines from an era before you worried about Momo eating your kid while he plays Angry Birds, or whatever. If you have never helped your child play Paperboy (kids love simulated manual labor!), Millipede, or recognize the extreme skill that goes into being a pinball master (I considered making him watch The Wizard while we ate but decided that’s more of a 5-year-old movie), can you even call yourself a parent? Admittedly, when I punched the Capcom vs. Marvel machine because Ryu cheated SO BAD, it wasn’t my best moment as a role model. Fortunately, he lost interest in the games and decided it was time to parkour through the restaurant.
While DeLeo Brothers has tons of stuff to look at and experience, the atmosphere was no match for my kid seeing if he could slip-n-slide his entire body from booth to booth, ending up on table tops as well as the floor multiple times. Not only were the staff and other patrons shockingly cool about the acrobatics, they seemed genuinely impressed with the core strength demonstrated by a small child full of pizza.
Ah, that’s right. The pizza. The food at DeLeo Bros. is exactly what it should be—it’s pizza, it’s calzones, it’s pasta. It’s stuff that your kid will eat, and that you as a parent can shovel down bites of between saying things like, “Bro, if you have to pee we need to do it in the bathroom.” Speaking of, everyone was very patient when my dude decided he’d pretend his Transformers were trying to flush each other down the toilet, resulting in staff being unable to clean the bathroom for an extra 20 minutes.
In the end, DeLeo Bros. got the high honor of having my child give it a silent thumbs up while he shoved more pizza into his mouth, and I was able to belt out Mr. Mister’s “Kyrie” (the restaurant’s music is exclusively 80s bangers, obvi) until my 4-year-old charge reminded me, “I TOLD YOU NO SINGING.”
DeLeo Bros. Pizza
10 Southdale Center #1705, Edina