Pizza Ranch confirms Duluth location

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Your pizza wish will soon be granted. Pizza Ranch is coming to Duluth.

We posted an article on Monday regarding the possibility of Pizza Ranch opening within Duluth. At that point in time the news was based off various sources including those from Pizza Ranch restaurants themselves. It was pretty clear though that there was quite a bit of talk going on regarding Pizza Ranch and Duluth... yet there was no official announcement.

Exterior of a typical Pizza Ranch location   |   SIPA

Exterior of a typical Pizza Ranch location  |  SIPA

We received confirmation from Pizza Ranch officials this week that Duluth is in fact on the list for a new location, actually at the very top of the list. While an exact opening date has yet to be determined it is expected that the location will open this fall representatives told us.

The company has yet to release the exact location of where the Duluth Pizza Ranch will be however we feel pretty safe to say that it will be in the former Party America location pictured above at the Stone Ridge Shopping Center. It's the location where we have heard countless sources explain to us that Pizza Ranch is opening up shop and those sources include some Pizza Ranch servers themselves.  

An extensive renovation will need to take place both on the exterior and interior in order to ready the space for Pizza Ranch. Work on adding and relocating utilities has already been said to have begun on the interior.

TWIN PORTS PIZZA CRAZE

News of Pizza Ranch's first Twin Ports location comes on the heels of the opening of Pizza Hut's second Duluth restaurant at the Shops of BlueStone. Pizza Hut is making it's entry back into the Twin Port's market after having a single store for nearly a year.

The new store within the Shops at BlueStone's recently completed third phase is located at the corner of Woodland Avenue and Clover Street. Another location is planned for a former Pizza Hut space at the corner of Central Avenue and Grand Avenue in West Duluth. It is expected to open next month.

The new Pizza Hut | WingStreet store location at the Shops at BlueStone on Woodland Avenue

Pizza Hut use to have four Twin Ports locations but in 2014 two of the four closed due to issues with the franchise agreement ( a third in Superior closed to make way for a Kwik Trip location). The company's location at BlueStone is expected to be a replacement for the former location on London Road.

The Shops at BlueStone and Grand Avenue locations are not expected to be the last additions for Pizza Hut within the Twin Ports. Sources within the past few months have been stating that Pizza Hut is planning to replace their Central Entrance location with a new location in a planned retail center on site. The new location would feature the company's new sports bar prototype, a concept that made its debut in St. Cloud last year and more recently in Downtown Minneapolis this past summer.

The Shops at BlueStone Pizza Hut location also features the company's WingStreet concept. WingStreet serves three different wing types covered in one of 12 different sauces or four different dry rubs. The concept is also known for their seasoned fries.

The Grand Avenue location will also be dual branded as Pizza Hut | WingStreet location when it opens next month.

 

New retail center planned for Central Entrance

There's an interest in a block of Central Entrance after a recent closing occurred and news of a developer purchasing the site. 

News broke recently that the BP gas station at the corner of Central Entrance and Arlington Avenue would be closing and along with it the Sammy's Pizza located inside. Don't confuse this location with the other BP station kiddy corner on the side of McDonald's, that one is still open for business.

It seems that almost as quick as the news of the closing was announced that the closing itself occurred. If you drive by the site today you'll notice that there are no signs of a BP once existing at this site and in fact the gas tanks have even been removed along with the canopy. With such rapid closure and removal it poses the question of what is next for the site and why the hurry?

The purchaser of the site is local developer Joe Kleiman along with his company Kleiman Realty. They also own the neighboring Pizza Hut building, the UPS Store, AND the Lake Superior Laundromat building. Are you sensing a redevelopment might occur? If so, you're correct.

Kleiman Reality is in the planning stages for a new retail strip center that would be constructed on the sites in which they own. All four of the current buildings would be razed. At the moment the exact details regarding the size and the design of the retail center have yet to be announced. 

Two of the three local businesses that will have their buildings demolished in order to make way for the new project will relocate in the new strip center. UPS will open a new store along with Pizza Hut. But ladies and gentlemen, this won't be your typical Pizza Hut location.

GET READY TO SEE A NEW SIDE OF PIZZA HUT

Last month Pizza Hut opened a new store concept in St. Cloud Minnesota. The new restaurant design features an updated look along with a full bar. We're excited to say that this new concept will also be making its way up to Duluth.

Muy Pizza Minnesota is the company responsible for bringing the new sports themed concept to Minnesota. They're no strangers to Pizza Hut as the company owns and runs hundreds of locations across the country among other restaurant brands. The new sports bar concept debuted originally in Texas with a goal of retaining the idea of Pizza Hut being a sit down restaurant. Let's be honest, delivery sometimes is just too good to be true. 

MSPBJ \ Clare Kennedy 

The new sports bar concept has a full bar that serves wine, beer, and cocktails. Overall these restaurants tend to be a bit larger than a typical Pizza Hut location and the atmosphere is a little more modern and edgy. For instance, Minneapolis' new location features 13 flat screen televisions along with modern wall graphics and neon lighting. And don't worry, the sports bar locations still feature a buffet.

While most of these new styles of Pizza Hut are located in the Southern portion of the U.S. the company did open a location in St. Cloud in May and also a location last week in downtown Minneapolis. 

Muy Pizza has further plans for Duluth. The San Antonio based company will also be the ones behind a few new Pizza Hut locations opening in Twin Ports (we'll have more information soon) over the next few months. Muy Pizza also plans to open another Pizza Hut sports bar concept in Grand Rapids this coming year.

At the moment it is unclear on the exact time frame of when the new Pizza Hut will open on Central Entrance however it is most likely to happen in Spring 2016. Check back to CDINDULUTH in the coming months for more information on this new retail center and the new businesses that will fill it!