A Minneapolis pizza spot was named the "ultimate pizzeria" in the United States on "Good Morning America" on Friday. The title went to Wrecktangle, which slings Detroit-style pies from three locations in Minneapolis.
"It's a whirlwind, it's surreal, it's crazy," said Wrecktangle co-owner Breanna Evans. "We don't really know how to process this between like jumping and screaming and crying."
Wrecktangle advanced to the final round earlier this week in the show's "United States of Pizza" competition, edging out south Minneapolis' Red Wagon Pizza Co. to land in the finals.
For the last showdown, Wrecktangle faced pizzerias from four other cities, two of which (New York and Chicago) are considered some of the best pizza cities in the country.
But Minneapolis had Wrecktangle's crispy and cheese-caramelized square slices going for it, plus an unusual topping combination that won over two of the four judges.
Wrecktangle chef and co-owner Jeff Rogers introduced the pizzeria's signature Very Nice Breakfast Pizza. "It is very early," Rogers explained on the morning show about his breakfast-themed entry.
The pie is topped with pork sausage gravy, soft scrambled eggs, bacon jam, seven kinds of cheese and fried sage leaves.
The judges were impressed.
"This Wrecktangle pizza should not work. This is not the pizza I would order," said cooking show host Aarti Sequeira. "I freaking love it."
Sequeira was wooed by the gravy and the cheese, "and then just the texture of the pizza itself — that is delicious."
Other judges included former NFL player Tiki Barber and the owners of New York's Artichoke Pizza, Sal Basille and Francis Garcia.
Garcia also selected Wrecktangle as his pick for the top pie. With two votes, Wrecktangle took home the title — and a giant check for $10,000.
"It was an honor to be a part of it in some sort of semblance, and it's insane that we took home the victory," Rogers told the Star Tribune a few hours after the show. "Still cannot believe it. Truly shell-shocked."
The other competitors were Unregular Pizza from New York City, Phew's Pies from Atlanta, Milly's Pizza in the Pan from Chicago, and Pizza Jawn from Philadelphia.
Afterward, Rogers and Evans walked around the city holding their giant check and getting some funny looks from passersby. They are planning to spend the weekend in New York before returning to Minneapolis to celebrate.
The post-win relief was especially sweet after challenges the Wrecktangle team — Rogers, Evans and Alex Rogers — went through to get their pizza to New York City. They had shipped all the ingredients to the "GMA" studio, but the box had been returned to sender. Luckily, they'd packed a second set of ingredients in a cooler and checked it for the flight.
Early Friday morning, Rogers and the other competitors cooked the pizza in an Ooni portable pizza oven on the plaza outside the studio.
"It was a blast," Evans said.
Want to try the winning pie for yourself? It's available at Wrecktangle's three locations: its flagship at 703 W. Lake St., Mpls.; in the Market at Malcolm Yards, 501 30th Av. SE., Mpls.; and its original location at the North Loop Galley, 729 N. Washington Av., Mpls.
By noon Friday, there was already a record number of orders. "Everyone was prepared," Rogers said. "We've been stocking up."