Young Joni, Minneapolis chef/pizzaiola Ann Kim’s follow-up to the celebrated Pizzeria Lola, has been named one of America’s Top 50 Independent Restaurants for 2023 by FSR Magazine, a sister publication of PMQ.

Also making the list were Pizza Serata, opened this year in Washington, D.C., by Chris Morgan and Ben Farahani, and Rosa’s Pizzeria in Prescott, Arizona, founded in 2011 by Domenic and Rosa Anzelmo and now owned by Vivili Hospitality Group.

Young Joni, which Kim and Conrad Leifur launched in 2016, is known for its American-Korean fusion cuisine, including the wood-fired Korean BBQ pizza topped with beef short rib, mozzarella, scallions, arugula, sesame and a soy-chili vinaigrette. Other pizzas on the menu include the Perfect Pickle Pie (fermented pickles, mozzarella, fontina, smoked onions, chili, ranch dressing, potato chips and dill) and the Basque (Spanish chorizo, mozz, goat cheese, piquillo peppers, red onions, Castelvetrano olives and preserved lemon).

Related: Does Minnesota really have its own pizza style?

Young Joni was also listed on Reader’s Digest’s list of the best pizzerias in every U.S. state in May 2023.

Kim, an immigrant from South Korea and a James Beard Award recipient, was featured on PMQ Pizza Magazine’s cover in November 2011. “Everyone thought I was crazy to open a restaurant having zero experience in the field,” she told PMQ at the time. “What I lacked in experience, I made up for in chutzpah. I followed my gut instead of the rules in all elements of the restaurant, including the menu, design and philosophy.”

FSR noted that Young Joni is “known for its globally inspired dishes and inventive pizzas” as well as its speakeasy bar behind the restaurant, boasting “creative concoctions named after TV episodes from shows like The Office, Stranger Things and Breaking Bad.”

This photo shows the Perfect Pickle Pie, topped with fermented pickles, mozzarella, fontina, smoked onions and potato chips

The Perfect Pickle Pie (Young Joni / Instagram)

Pizza Serata, also spotlighted on the FSR list, showcases Sicilian-style pies and focaccia sandwiches made from locally sourced flour. The pizza menu includes the Reading Terminal (porchetta, mozz, broccoli rabe, provolone, pickled cherry peppers and a vodka sauce) and the Hot + Bothered (an Arrabiata sauce, sopressata, mozz, pecorino, oven-dried tomatoes, basil and Calabrian chile honey).

Related: Women in pizza: How pizzaiolas are shaping the industry’s future

With two locations in Prescott, Rosa’s Pizzeria is another Sicilian pizza concept on FSR’s list. Specialty pizzas include the Eggplant Pizza (ricotta, mozzarella, thinly sliced breaded eggplant and fresh basil) and Rosa’s Mediteraneo Pizza (homemade pesto sauce, grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta and mozz).

According to FSR, the 50 independent restaurants chosen for the list “showcase innovative menus, exceptional service and inviting atmospheres that will impress both seasoned foodies and curious diners alike.”

Pizza News