'Midlife crisis': Davanni's is getting a facelift ahead of its 40th anniversary


A Minnesota-based pizza and hot hoagies chain is going through some changes ahead of its 40th anniversary this fall in an attempt to appeal to younger consumers.

Davanni's, which first opened in St. Paul on Oct. 1 1975, and is now based in Plymouth, is going through what the Business Journal is calling a little bit of a "midlife crisis" as it tries to attract millennials to its restaurants that remain popular with the baby-boomers.

That's because for many consumers Davanni's wasn't on their radar as an option for dining, with many consumers feeling it was more of an "impersonal national brand," the Business Journal says, noting the local chain had become an afterthought it its hometown.

In an attempt to become the neighborhood pizza shop it once was, the family-owned restaurant decided to revamp its menu, remodel some of its stores, redesign its logo and make its website mobile-friendly, the Star Tribune reports, after hiring a consulting firm that suggested Davanni's needed some character and personality, the Business Journal says.

This spring, the casual-dining restaurant chain began serving up flat-bread pizzas at its Roseville shop, as well as pouring craft beer at most of its 21 Twin Cities restaurants – something many millennials prefer.

The company is also modernizing its stores – the revamp at the Edina shop is nearly complete.

“This is going to be different,” Davanni’s founder and CEO Mick Stenson told the Business Journal. “[We’ve never done anything] as monumental as this.”

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Stenston told the Star Tribune not all of the restaurants will get a complete physical makeover like the one in Edina, but every store "will get something. Some more than others."

Davanni's is opening another location in Chanhassen this fall, which will have a similar design to the Edina shop, the Business Journal notes. The location on Cleveland and Grand in St. Paul – the original Davanni's – won't be modernized, though, Stenson said.

Davanni's employes nearly 1,000 employees throughout the metro area, with many managers working for the company for more than 18 years, the company's website says.

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