The Legend of Dave’s Pizza began in 1958 when a staunch Italian gentleman named Dave Masucci gave Bemidji its very first taste of authentic Italian pizza pie. Dave’s pride in his own unique, heirloom family recipes set the stage for the long-standing tradition of making the pizzeria’s cuisine fresh on the premises each day. After establishing the pizza shop in Bemidji, Dave moved on to open several more “Dave’s Pizza’s” in Northern Minnesota, sharing with other towns his delicious Italian heritage. It was at this time (1961) the original Bemidji shop was then transferred into the caring hands of the first generation of the Andersens, Rudolph Andersen.
Rudy continued with all the family traditions and upgraded the pizzeria from a strictly take-out establishment to one that included a dining area as well. He continued to make the culinary masterpieces fresh on the premises and was not swayed by the pre-packaged products the pizza industry was quickly manufacturing. He believed that the quality of a homemade meal was the backbone of the pizzeria’s success. After a short while as a sole proprietor, Rudy took on a partner… his oldest son Richard. And in 1963, when Rudy retired, Richard “Dick” Andersen became the new guardian of Dave’s Pizza.
Much of the credit for the “taste” of Dave’s Pizza today belongs to Dick Andersen. He spent many hours and many years developing and expanding the original recipes of Dave Masucci. His creativity and dedication to quality undoubtedly provided Dave’s Pizza with its uniqueness and legendary foothold in the Bemidji area. He also responded to his customer’s needs by expanding the seating capacity for approximately 16 guests to a seating capacity for over 90 and by adding a delivery service for his customers as well as the take-out service already in place.
Thirty-three years later, in 1996, all the traditions and expertise were once again passed down to a new family. Pete and Roxanne Fenson, who themselves had grown up on the legendary taste of Dave’s Pizza, pledged to preserve the time-honored recipes as well as continue the courteous service and welcoming atmosphere that the establishment had been known for all these years. Following the examples of their predecessors, they have also continued to add new life and new ideas to their little Bemidji Store, both in the culinary aspect as well as the aesthetic. New cuisine combinations based on the same traditional belief of quality and freshness can now be enjoyed outside on a beautiful “old world” patio, adding seating for an additional twenty guests.
Pete and Roxanne decided that they wanted to share their favorite Pizza and Italian cuisine with the residents of the pristine Brainerd Lakes area. So in early 2005, a beautiful new pizzeria was created just off of Hwy 371 N in Baxter, MN. Though this new pizzeria is larger than the original Dave’s Pizza (with seating for more than 114 guests), it carries with it all the traditions, recipes, beliefs, and comforts which, in combination, have created the unique and satisfying dining experiences the pizzeria’s guests have come to expect over the years.
Even though there was a growing and loyal following being created in the Brainerd Lakes area, on September 30, 2007, Dave’s Pizza in Brainerd closed its doors. The news that the Reeds anchor store had been bought out by Gander Mountain and was closing its doors for good at that location had taken its toll. Pete and Roxanne still feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to introduce Dave’s legendary taste to the Brainerd Lakes Area, and look forward to seeing their new customers find their way to Bemidji every so often, to enjoy the taste of Dave’s Pizza they learned to love back home in Baxter!
From the early days of little, two-year-old Alex running under the front swing counter in Bemidji to today where both Alex and Graem can be seen lending a helping hand in a variety of areas at either shop, Dave’s Pizza has truly become the essence of a family-run pizzeria! Who knows, when you stop in for a visit, you may just catch a glimpse of the whole family in action, as well as possibly sneak a glance at the not-so-distant future of Dave’s Pizza!
We would like to welcome you with open arms and invite you too, to become an important part of our Pizza family!
1st time here. Family & friends have been coming here for 50 years. Pizza was awesome.
Love the food, great quality and always great service…
Dave’s Pizza has been around since I was a kid and for good reason. The quality of the pizza hasn’t changed. It’s still great!