Pizza’s folded cousin coming to the U

Minnesota will receive its first college-centric calzone restaurant when D.P. Dough opens early next year.

by Anne Millerbernd

University of Minnesota students can get pizza from more than a dozen eateries on or near campus, but no place serves slices folded in half.

A college-targeted calzone franchise, D.P. Dough, will make its Minnesota debut early next year at the base of the Dinkydome between ProCuts and Baldy’s BBQ.

All of D.P. Dough’s 22 franchises across the country cater specifically to campuses, said Matt Crumpton, the company’s executive vice president of franchising. But the company has yet to bring its calzones — available until 4 a.m. with no delivery fee — to Minnesota.

A calzone is a type of pizza that is folded in half before it’s cooked to make the toppings into a filling.

Future franchise owner Brian Van Dyke said after he and his father open a D.P. Dough in Dinkytown, he wants to establish more locations at colleges across the state.

If his Dinkytown location fares well, he plans to open five other locations to serve: Minnesota State University-Mankato, the University of Minnesota-Duluth, St. Cloud State, Concordia College and surrounding colleges, and the Minnesota State University-Moorhead and surrounding colleges.

Originally from Colorado, Van Dyke said he can relate to the franchise’s new location.

“I love Minnesota, and I’m familiar with it,” he said, “Minneapolis is about as close to where I’m from as possible in terms of the culture and scenery.”

D.P. Dough started in the mid-1980s when a mother-son duo expanded their Massachusetts State Fair food truck into a delivery business at the University of Massachusetts, Crumpton said.

After D.P. Dough franchising bought the company in 2011, it developed a policy saying its franchises must serve college campuses — even though it already carried a “college brand,” he said.

“Because it’s tied to college experience, especially late-night parties kind of stuff, we get the instant nostalgia,” Crumpton said. “People wake up seeing the D.P. Dough boxes not really remembering what they ate.”

Each location is required to serve 20 staple calzone flavors with names like “End Zone,” “Combat Zone” and “Danger Zone.”

But franchise owners and managers can create up to five of their own calzone creations, too. Typically, Van Dyke said, one unique type caters to whatever school the restaurant is located near, as with the soon-to-come “Gopher Zone” flavor, which will contain pepperoni and sausage.

Jon Sewell opened a franchise at the University of Iowa last fall after his daughter told him about the company. He said the business’ success draws from the school’s late-night crowd.

“D.P. Dough tends to be a really busy late-night restaurant — they keep their hours late and cater to the after-bar crowd,” Sewell said, “and the University of Iowa has been rated the No. 1 or No. 2 party school for the past few years.”

Wade Owe, manager of Mesa Pizza’s Stadium Village location, said he doesn’t think the new calzone eatery will present much
competition for Mesa because the two foods have distinct differences.

“Calzones and pizza are probably not exactly the same thing,” he said. “It’s an ‘apples and oranges’ type of thing, not a ‘pizza’s better’ type of thing.”