It's a long way from a high school job at a Papa John's to owning your own slice shop, but pizza is a passion for Adam Kado.
The entrepreneur and former basketball player has partnered with his childhood best friend, Hosie Thurmond, to open Slice in Minneapolis (519 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., slicepizzamn.getbento.com). With supersized slices of pizza akin to those you'd find in New York, Slice is catering to walk-up traffic in a fast-growing residential district with a service window and delivery; there's no dining inside this former insurance office.
"With COVID and everything we went through, we saw that the way we're eating is changing and transforming," Kado said. "Takeout or delivery is just going to be the future, even as things get better."
The recipe is having a slow rollout, Kado said. After nailing the sauce, he's still tinkering with the dough, which, for now, is thinner than a traditional New York slice. Whole pies are customizable, but slices come in just five varieties, including pepperoni and pineapple-chicken ($3.50-$4). Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Mon.-Thu., and noon to 2 a.m. Fri. and Sat.
Slice isn't Kado's first venture. The St. Paul native founded a basketball training and mentoring program, where he teaches life skills to budding players, including business. His interest in entrepreneurship comes from his father, an immigrant from Kenya who started his own companies.
"He struggled a lot, but it was priceless to him, the fact that he was in America and he had his own business," Kado said. "I knew growing up that one day I would have my own business."
He also knew back then just how much he loved a good slice. He identified deeply with the pizza-loving "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," he joked. But pizza fed his family — he has three brothers — for not a lot of money, and it always felt special. "Pizza night is a celebration," Kado said.
He is especially proud to have founded one of the few Black-owned pizzerias in the Twin Cities.
"We want to inspire more Black businesses — any way to spark awareness, because one of the biggest ways to fight racism or these forms of oppression is economic empowerment," Kado said. "We're also owning that we don't have a lot of knowledge in this space, but we're willing to put the work in and take the chance."
And coming soon
After a 13-year run in Dinkytown, the Cantonese and Szechuan restaurant Pagoda closed last spring to make way for student apartments. (The same development also claimed next-door neighbor McDonald's, a 57-year-old landmark.)
After the closure, owner Justin Lin got scores of phone calls and social media messages from people who wanted to see Pagoda continue. He also got some much needed rest for the first time in over a decade, he said.
But now, he's back to work. Pagoda has found a new home in Roseville.
"It was surprising how we got a lot of support from our great customers, and also finding out a lot of our customers actually lived in Roseville," Lin said.
The new space is slightly smaller than the original, seating about 80. But the strip mall location has something the Dinkytown spot didn't — parking.
The menu won't be changing, and Lin expects the most popular items to carry over to Roseville, namely hot pot, all-you-can-eat specials and dim sum with bottomless mimosas.
Look for a November opening at 2401 Fairview Av. N., Suite 133, across from Rosedale Center. pagodadinkytown.com.