Vikings' Matt Kalil to bring Pieology Pizza to Minnesota
Pizza and football go together like lutefisk and church dinners -- one just doesn't feel right without the other. In recent years, some of the sport's biggest stars have latched on to certain pizza chains, dividing pizza fans in the same manner as football fans. Peyton Manning works with Papa John's. Papa Gino's has Tedy Bruschi. And on Monday, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal announced that Matt Kalil, the Minnesota Vikings' offensive lineman, owns the Pieology Pizza franchise rights for the entire state of Minnesota.
"We'll have six locations up and running by the end of this year," Matt Kalil's father, Frank, told the Business Journal. Kalil plans to open the first two locations in Maple Grove and Highland Park before expanding to Minneapolis, Eden Prairie, and Mankato.
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Pieology Pizza is a California-based concept pizza chain serving custom pizzas within five minutes. It's sort of like the pizza version of Subway or Chipotle: Customers walk down a line and choose from three sauces, four cheeses, 17 toppings, and six "after bakes." Menu highlights include herb butter, gorgonzola cheese, artichoke, bacon, meatballs, and pesto. But you don't have to settle; customers can add as many toppings as they like for the same base price of around $8. After the toppings are chosen, the personal pizzas are added to a wood-fire oven and baked for five minutes.
Pieology Pizza is just one of many new pizza restaurants banking on the Chipotle-esque fast-casual concept, many of which were born in California. Chipotle itself opened Pizzeria Locale, its own pizza-based offshoot, in Denver last May.
Pieology's local competitors include Punch Pizza, Pizza Studio, and PizzaRev, which recently partnered with Buffalo Wild Wings and will be expanding to Minnesota this year. PizzaRev and Pizza Studio follow almost the exact same formula as Pieology, while Punch places more of an emphasis on their own concoctions.
Pieology's concept certainly fits with the lunch crowd, but will football fans really run to their local franchise in the middle of a game, or will we continue to rely on Toppers and Luce for our mid-game needs? What do Hot Dish readers think?
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