New Dinkytown location brings more customers to Pizza Hut

Molly Moker

The Dinkytown Pizza Hut is already benefiting from its new location between Hollywood Video and Dinkytown Wine and Spirits, Pizza Hut district manager Tammy Knebel said.

“Pizza, alcohol and movies Ö what more could you want?” Knebel said.

The restaurant opened one week ago at 416 14th Ave. S.E. – two blocks from its former University Avenue location.

“We’re much happier to be here, to be closer to the students,” Knebel said. “Our other restaurant was off the beaten path. Now that we’re here, we get more foot traffic and it’s easier for our delivery drivers.”

The new location has less seating and waitstaff than the former restaurant. But employee Bruce Johnson said the setup is better.

“The atmosphere is more conducive to a college environment,” Johnson said. “It’s more compact and more visible.”

Customers eating at the restaurant said they like the change.

“I like all the windows,” International School of Minnesota student Aelia Naqwi said. “The other one was too dark and messy. This one is cheerful.”

Her father, Amir Naqwi, who owns a business in the University Technology Center, said he thinks the new Pizza Hut is better.

Knebel said some customers did have complaints about the new restaurant, such as having no lunch buffet option. However, she said the new store offers lunch specials instead.

Knebel said the store is also facing another challenge: increased demand.

“We’re having more deliveries now,” Knebel said.

She said management and staff are the same, but the store is looking for more delivery drivers because of increased delivery requests.

The store will celebrate its grand opening Oct. 2 with free sodas, prizes, a pizza-eating contest and an appearance by Goldy Gopher.

The old building was purchased by a private contractor and will be demolished later this year.

Mercedes Cruz, an employee with the University Real Estate Office, said a new building on the old Pizza Hut site will be a multi-family housing unit and is not affiliated with the University.