When the Vikings head to Mankato for training camp, there may be a lot of free pizza heading out the door out of Pieology Pizza, which will be opening this spring in Mankato.
What's so important about a pizza shop in Mankato?
It's the owner.
Vikings offensive tackle Matt Kalil and his father Frank are opening the pizza franchise, which is based out of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., in Mankato. The Kalils purchased Minnesota franchise rights for the pizza restaurant and have some big plans – putting a positive spin on the "business" side of being a player in the spotlight of the National Football League.
The franchise serves pizza in a style used by several other fast-food restaurants – cafeteria-style dining where one picks and chooses what they want rather than ordering a pizza for a group. Pieology Pizza has been able to accomplish such a business because they roll out 800-degree ovens and, by the time you settle up with the cashier, you're pie is ready to roll out. Much like a sub shop, customers can select their own toppings and keep the line moving. Kalil's offensive line teammates will be sure to test the limits of how much meat and/or cheese can be on one pizza and test the heating capacity of the oven.
The Mankato pizzeria will be one of three that will launch this spring. Locations in Maple Grove and the St. Paul suburb of Highland Park are also coming. Plans are in place to include future franchises in downtown Minneapolis and near the Vikings training facility in Winter Park. He may want to reconsider that location, since NFL millionaires can be cheap – "I'm with Matty."
At a time when other blue-chip first-round draft picks are throwing away money on the trappings of fame, not only is Kalil looking to make money by investing money, he's doing it in Minnesota. His investment is being made in hiring Minnesotans to help create a business that could thrive.
When Viking Update is down in Mankato for training camp, we'll check out Kalil's business venture and break into the sketchy realm of restaurant reviews. Maybe saying, "I'm with Matty" will garner significant discounts … as long as we don't go for the Loadholt Special.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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