Most people that grew up in St. Paul agree the city moves at a slower place than the neighbor across the river. With that in mind, we figured if we hit the new Mucci’s Italian on Randolph after 6:30 on a Thursday night, everyone would be long done with dinner. After waiting almost an hour for one of the 34 table seats, I’m thinking word must have spread beyond the city borders.
Located in the old Mildred Pierce Cafe/Café Tava spot just up from West Seventh, Mucci’s is the third outlet in the burgeoning Tim Niver St. Paul food empire that includes personal favorites The Strip Club and Saint Dinette. He stole the sous chef from Strip Club, Chris Uhrich, and made him head chef and partner at the new place (which is named after Tim’s mom’s maiden name). These guys are masters of social media – make sure and check out the Twitter and Instagram feeds of all the related people and business entities.
Unlike the waiting situation at Revival (which also doesn’t take reservations), Mucci’s door was staffed by the wonderful Sheela, who handled a phone and clipboard with aplomb. She was just great – keeping us informed, entertained and, most impressively, remembered Colleen’s name all evening. She reports that doors open at 5pm and they are usually full right away (including the ten bar seats).
We passed on a couple of open bar seats and lucked out with the one booth in the whole joint, which is tucked in the northwest corner. Colleen ordered a glass of Prosecco on tap ($5), while I couldn’t pass up trying the Mucci’s Juice (red wine and orange Fanta, $3). For our first course, Colleen had the small chop salad (no egg, $6) and I had the $5 side of spaghetti and Mucci’s sauce. We both agreed these were the best of their respective categories we’ve ever had. The house made pasta was perfectly cooked and the sauce was amazing.
Next up, we both decided to get pizzas – one “Audrey” for me (red sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella, $12) and a “Jane” for Colleen (red sauce, mozzarella, $11 – add sausage $3 and mushroom $2). The Audrey shares a name with Chris’s cute baby daughter, while I assume the Jane is for Plain. We couldn’t figure out why the crust was so unique and tasty until I read they are “montanara-style” pizzas, meaning the dough is fried before it’s baked. That expertise also lends itself to the weekend donuts sold starting at 8am (until gone).
We finished up the night with two single scoops of lemon basil gelato ($3), which we were told was made earlier that morning. The Heavy Table review describes the other two dessert options, which sound great too. The one comment listed mentioned noise, and I’d have to agree – it’s a very loud room. I think we ended up leaving around 8:30, which is really when I first noticed one or two tables available.
Can’t wait to go back again – just need to be early or late (and never on a Monday).