If there were an award for knowing your target market, we would give it to DP Dough, an all-American, fast-food calzone company that gives college students what they want, gives it to them fast, and gives it to them cheap, all the while making sure that those customers know: "Hey, we're not here to judge." They have a 4 a.m. close time on weekends (the Minneapolis location is still working on the permit for that close time), slogans with allusions to intoxication ("If you pass out in here, we reserve the right to draw on your face!"), and home team colors and mascots donning the walls.
Minneapolis just got its first of this national franchise. Since they call themselves "The Original Calzone Company," we wondered how those calzones indeed stood up:
A calzone is of course a slice of pizza folded over on itself, and not all that common around here except at those NYC corner slice joints. I'm a firm believer that the first calzone was born when a pie slinger went to retrieve a regular, round pizza from the oven, bungled it, and the thing folded over on itself. I don't care what Wikipedia has to say. That's what happened.
The base of the Dinky Dome is a prime location just off frat row and perfect to get to if you're on a skateboard, but not in a car -- parking is murder. But no matter -- their business model is all about delivery anyway.
Inside, It's a counter service setup, just like any fast food behemoth, with a big glowing menu board and every permutation of calzone (they ring in at around $7) you could dream up in your drunky little head upon it: hamburger, bacon, and mozz; pineapple, ham, and mozz; even a "Killzone" (chef's choice). As purists, we are ordered an Italian, with salami, ham, pepperoni, mozz, Parm, and ricotta, as well as a cheese with mozz, Parm, and ricotta.
The kitchen staff could be seen hand-stuffing and folding the dough, and then sending them through a conveyor belt convection oven. Thanks to the hand-building process, you'll wait a little while.
The result is definitely doughy (hey, you saw the name on the awning, didn'tcha?) but with robust flavor within, the meats playing against each other in a wonderful Little Italy vibrato -- Italian American to beat the band. Cheese was abundant and melty, the side of marinara plentiful and zesty. The cheese-only was the kind of thing that would please a kid, or even a freshman with a not-yet-developed palate for big flavors.
Did you get lose-your-contact-lens-in-your-cocktail drunk last weekend? Did you wake up thinking you were blind in one eye? It's too bad you didn't have a D.P. Dough around the corner. It's like they're doing some kind of public service. College kids are going to get hammered, so there might as well be a big dough ball at the ready any hour of any day, to soak up the deluge. And they ain't even half bad.
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