Someone You Should Know: Bringing NY style pizza to Bismarck

Local News

You may expect to find things like knoephla or walleye at North Dakota restaurants. But what about authentic, New York-style pizza?

In tonight’s Someone You Should Know, we meet the woman behind an atypical midwestern pizza joint.

“It leaves a little bit of air in the edge of the crust.”

This is Holly Sand, wife of nearly 30 years, lover of jigsaw puzzles and, like many of us, pizza lover — especially New York-style.

“If you ask most of the people in New York what makes their pizza so great, they’ll say it’s the water. The crust is just that much better because of our water,” said Sand, the owner and manager of New York To Go.

Back in 2012, she and her husband were in New York City and found themselves going for slice after slice.

“We’ve always joked about it ever since then, about having a pizza place. My husband’s like, ‘We’re going to make our own pizza place,'” said Sand.

The Sands are a military family, moving from state to state for many years. But Bismarck has been their home for the past 15.

It’s the longest she’s lived in one place…so why not make a mark in the Capital City?

She said once her husband gets something in his head, it happens.

Lo and behold…New York To Go.

“So why not do it? It just gives people another option,” said Sand.

So what makes it “New York” pizza?

Like she said…it’s all about the water. This filter is what gives it the tasty texture.

A water sample is sent off to the Big Apple about once every three months. The water is compared to city water and new filters are sent back to Bismarck to replicate it as close as possible.

“All I know is, it’s pretty cool,” she said.

It’s a unique concept to the Midwest but seems to be doing the trick.

The “to go” concept may also have been a blessing in disguise.

The restaurant was only open for about two months before the coronavirus drastically changed the food and drink industry.

After all, dine-in places ended up having to rely on take-out for months.

“It has been a challenge, it has been for a lot of businesses,” said Sand.

But the show must go on.

The days are long, starting with intense cleaning and ingredient prep — including big batches of dough.

Leading up to opening a pizza place, Sand had been retired for almost six years.

It’s no leisurely task to run a business — especially during a pandemic — but it’s become a labor of love.

“I’ve just really enjoyed it, and my husband basically has to keep me out of here. He tries to give me a day off when he does the schedule and I’m usually here. One way or another I find my way here,” she said.

And perhaps it’s a flavor of love, as well.

So you may prefer pan pizza, Detroit style, Chicago or any other, but still, Holly Sand is Someone You Should Know.

And if you’re wondering, apparently the water trick isn’t much of a secret recipe. The Sands learned of it from a friend who learned of it at a pizza expo.

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