Slice Brothers Pizza opened its first location in 2021 on a wedge of Northeast Minneapolis pavement that, almost too fittingly, is shaped like a piece of the New York-style pizza it serves. (It’s since been painted with brick-red pepperonis and shitake mushrooms.) In the mere two years since, owners Adam Kado and Hosie Thurmond have expanded Slice to three additional locations: Midtown Global Market, Frogtown, and now the Mall of America, where they’ll cut the ribbon in October. In light of this rapid expansion, it’s tempting to ask: Is Slice building the Twin Cities’ next pizza empire?
“It’s really easy to say yes, we are, but I don’t think that that’s where our why is,” says Thurmond. “Our why really isn’t to build a pizza empire. Our why is to distribute affordable pizza. It turned out that that’s needed in a lot more areas of the Twin Cities and — who knows — the region or wherever. We continue to take those opportunities.”
Slice is modeled like a classic New York slice shop, which are few and far between in the Twin Cities pizza scene. Its slices have a crunchy, cracker-like crust, and classic toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and buffalo chicken. They’re eminently foldable and around $5 each. “We’re not out here like ‘Hey, big pizza coming to town,’” Thurmond says, laughing. “But if communities continue to be receptive to it, then we are too.”
Slice is Minneapolis’s first Black-owned pizzeria — its mission, beyond serving great pizza, is creating jobs and leveraging business ownership to build generational wealth for communities of color. Thurmond and Kado are lifelong best friends; they grew up together in St. Paul. “I’m the pragmatist and Hosie’s the visionary,” says Kado. He’s been a little resistant to each new expansion, he says, but the opportunities keep coming. “I love what we do, I love the communities we’re involved with. I like to keep it square, and in-state, serving the people that have been loyal to us. But obviously, we can create jobs, expand our reach, and make a difference in a lot of places. With the viability of the concept, we’re kinda forced to do this. It’s bigger than us at this point.”
Slice’s newest location is in Frogtown, near the intersection of University and Dale. (It’s the neighborhood’s only pizzeria.) Kado and Thurmond got connected with the space through the Neighborhood Development Center, a St. Paul organization that supports local entrepreneurs. Kado says he doesn’t think many restaurants would be willing to set up shop in Frogtown as compared to a neighborhood like the North Loop, where there are more commercial corridors — but if they can create 10 or 15 jobs, he’s not going to compare the numbers.
Despite Kado and Thurmond’s success in their first two years, though, it’s not all smooth sailing. They still sometimes face financing issues, and, in Kado’s words, have to “bootstrap” without the safety net that comes with generational wealth. They reach one hurdle and another comes — meanwhile, they’re eternally battling other peoples’ expectations. “We continue to have to prove ourselves with each deal and each new piece of attention we get,” says Thurmond. “We have to continue pushing forward, and it’s hard. It’s a taxing thing.”
Ultimately, Slice’s growth has proved to be a delicate balance for its owners. As they move forward, Kado and Thurmond say, they’re open to new opportunities, but their mission stays at the core. “We have to do this the right way, where we’re not just turning into fat cats — we still have our ethical code and our morals and our values that have gotten us to this place,” says Kado. “Finding balance is tough. Me and Hosie are just guys from the neighborhood, and now we’re in this position. Man, we’re in a different world meeting different people. We’re really pleased with that. But it comes with a lot.”