Among the souvenir shops, western wear stores, even a taffy shop, Medora Uncorkd provides visitors to the small western North Dakota town of Medora a respite from tourist-related attractions.
An added bonus is the barbecue meatball blueberry pizza that owner Travis Enders creates upon request. Blueberry pizza? In North Dakota? Don’t prejudge it until you taste it. And when you take that first bite of a warm slice, your tastebuds scream out in excitement. It may be the best pizza you’ve ever eaten.
Stopping in the wine bar, which has been open nearly a year, I saw the pizza listed on the menu board. Travis created the pizza during a local wine walk. He played around with ideas to match a berry wine and thought “Why not a blueberry pizza?”
So, as people tried the samples, they fell in love with the flavor. Travis added it to Medora Uncorkd’s menu, where it quickly became the most popular menu item, overtaking the chicken Thai pizza (a delicious slice itself).
Made on a 12-inch round of thin dough, Travis uses a blueberry puree as the base, spreading it on about three-fourths of the dough. Tossing in an abundance of cheese, Travis tops the pizza with meatballs coated in a barbecue and blueberry mix. The blueberry adds to the flavor without overpowering it.
The pizza has an attractive appearance, but it’s the flavor that envelops you. You’re hooked on the first bite and it just gets better with each taste. We dined there two of our five nights in Medora.
If a pizza with blueberries isn’t for you, Medora Uncorkd offers a menu of other pizzas and appetizers, such as a cheese tray or a charcuterie plate.
North Dakota wines
The pizza is just a perk of visiting Medora Uncorkd. The wine bar offers a nice selection of North Dakota and regional wines.
With a short growing season, the state’s handful of vineyards rely on Marquette grapes that are suited for cold weather. The University of Minnesota has also invented grapes and other fruits that are cold weather-adaptable.
But, Travis said, North Dakota wine growers rely more on fruits, such as apples, pears and berries. In fact, the wine Travis paired the pizza with is Aronia berry, a chokeberry, produced by Wolf Creek Winery in Cole Harbor, North Dakota.
The wine industry is fairly new to North Dakota. It was the last state to license a winery and vineyard when Pointe of View opened in Burlington. The north-central winery opened in 2002. The North Dakota Grape and Wine Association was formed in 2006 to oversee viticulture in the state. North Dakota is home to about 25 wineries.
Travis, a transplant from Pennsylvania, worked as a consultant for 911 emergency call centers before deciding to settle in the area with his spouse, who is a North Dakota native. It appears that the pairing works well for wine in Medora.