Long before pizzas were being served from Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria, the town of Rothsay, Minnesota was home to many Norwegian immigrants who probably never imagined their prized hot dish casseroles would be eaten on top of pizza. But then again, Ole & Lena have always been a couple of inventive cooks. Start with some Norwegian roots, throw in a dash of Italian seasoning, mix together in a small town, and top it off with a little quirkiness, and you’ve got a business concerned with making the best food possible at reasonable prices.
Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria opened its doors in the fall of 2007 in Rothsay, Minnesota following a year-and-a-half remodeling of one of the town’s oldest buildings. Started by Shane Balken, the unique restaurant quickly found its niche in the specialty and premium pizza market. Hundreds of crazy and weird pizza concoctions came out of our pizza oven and over the years, several of them stuck around! Known throughout the area as the, “Finest Norwegian-Italian restaurant”, Balken ran the business for 12 years and during that period, opened several other Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria operations. One of Balken’s operations still in business is a traveling pizzeria on wheels, where he travels to local events throughout the area with his food trailer and makes hot, fresh pizzas on location. The food trailer is available for local catering events and can serve all of the favorite specialty pizzas Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria is famous for. For More information on the concession trailer, please check out our “Pizzeria on wheels” page.
In 2015, Ole & Lena’s frozen pizzas were introduced to the local area and started to make their way into area grocery stores and fundraising organizations. Today Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria frozen pizzas can currently be found in more than 60 locations throughout the region. Fundraising is available throughout most of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In 2019, after twelve years in the restaurant business, Balken sold the original Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria location in Rothsay, Minnesota to focus on the frozen pizza business full time. Today, Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria frozen foods and fundraising is located in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.