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Pilot Knob Pizzeria: A new kind of pie

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business Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Ed Endres is already downtown Farmington's Pizza Man. Now he's looking to move into a new part of town.

On New Year's Day Endres and partner Kim Hansen opened Pilot Knob Pizzeria in the north Farmington spot occupied for the last several years by Ted's Pizza in the Farmington Marketplace development.

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For Endres, the move was equal parts recognizing a business opportunity and making sure nobody else could beat him to the punch.

When Ted's closed, Endres jumped at the chance to keep a sit-down pizza restaurant alive in the north part of town. He brought in Hansen, the wife of a friend, as a co-owner to help him run the place and spent four weeks cleaning and redecorating before opening earlier this month.

Endres knows a thing or two about pizza. He's run downtown's Pizza Man for the past seven years. But the franchise fee he would have had to pay to another Pizza Man was to steep to allow him to add another location. He also liked the idea of doing something a little different.

Unable to use the Pizza Man sauce and sausage up north Endres and Hansen did some taste testing and settled on ingredients they believe people will enjoy.

The Pilot Knob pizzas will also be cooked on stone, giving the crust a different texture than the pies Endres offers at Pizza Man.

There are other differences, too. Pilot Knob Pizzeria has a seating area, and it's menu is more diverse than Endres offers downtown. For now things are pretty basic -- pizza, pasta and appetizers like waffle fries and mozzarella sticks -- but Endres and Hansen hope to expand their offerings soon. They hope to offer beer and wine soon and they're trying to find other things they think people will like. They also plan to install some flat screen TVs on the walls.

"We're calling these baby steps," Endres said.

The sauce at the new restaurant is more garlicky than the Pizza Man recipe, Endres said.

"People have said it's just the right sauce," Hansen said.

So far, people seem to like a lot about the restaurant. Endres and Hansen don't even have their name on the building yet -- their sign is supposed to go up sometime this week -- but they're already seeing big crowds. The restaurant was crowded on New Year's Day and had people standing and waiting for tables last Friday.

"Without advertising and with just having an 'Open' banner ... we're real pleased," Endres said.

Other projects

This isn't the end of Endres' efforts to expand his businesses. Even before he moved north he had plans to add on to his downtown restaurant. The Pilot Knob project delayed those plans some, but Endres hopes by spring to add seating for 50 at Pizza Man and put broasted chicken on the menu.

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