Construction crews renovate the old Twisted Pint Ale House at 2723 Commerce Drive NW to house a new Carbon Pizzeria restaurant and bar. Crooked Pint closed in 2020, after a five-year run in Rochester.
Dan Howard, co-owner of the Carbone’s franchise in Rochester with Scott LaMott, hopes to open the pizzeria by mid-December, if not earlier. They expect to have a team of around 50 employees on staff.
Howard has worked for LaMott, owner of Carbone’s Pizzeria in Northfield, since 2012.
“He (LaMott) approached me not long ago to ask if I would like to team up with him and open another Carbon,” Howard said. “Looking around different areas we thought Rochester was a good location. Then we were lucky enough to find this place.
He is particularly excited to join the growing supply of restaurants on the northwest side of Rochester.
“This is a part of the city that is really booming… There are a few new restaurants here that are doing well. We would love to be a part of that and add a little more to the community,” Howard said.
Carbone’s has a long history in Minnesota, starting in 1954 as a small Italian grocery store on the east side of St. Paul. It has grown to 36 locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin with one in Montana. This is the first time that Carbone’s cooks in the Rochester market.
While the Med City has a variety of local pizzerias, like Mr. Pizza, Pasquale’s, BB’s, Tilda’s and Pi, as well as most national chains, Howard thinks there is room for Carbone’s in the mix.
“We have a full menu with more than just pizzas. We have a fairly large selection of starters, pastas, burgers and wraps. Our wings at Northfield are award winning, ”he said. “And we have great pizza. It’s a thin crust with a really robust sauce. The flavor is just amazing. It’s a little different from anything I’ve encountered in Rochester. I think it will be fine.
The restaurant dining room and bar will be much more open than they were like Crooked Pint. A wall that created a separate area for the Goonie the comedic performances at Crooked Pint have been discontinued.
Referring to Carbone’s location in Northfield, Howard said the Rochester restaurant hopes to be active in the community, particularly by supporting sports with the zipper proceeds.
“The great thing for us is that we want to be a fun, family-friendly sports bar,” he said.
The return of pizza to the Commerce Drive building is a return to its original purpose. It was built in 2006 to house a Moulin Vert Pizza restaurant. Green Mill abruptly closed in early 2015 and was replaced by the Cooked Pint.