A piece of Minneapolis is firing up in Woodbury, thanks to a local family who bought and expanded Dulono’s Pizza, the well-known restaurant in LynLake since 1957.
Woodbury resident Jared Gruett opened the Woodbury location in September 2015, bringing the Dulono’s experience of piping hot pizzas with Midwest-style cracker thin crust, topped with fresh premium ingredients and original sauce recipe. “I bought it because it’s one of the original pizza places in the state, and it has such a good following,” says Jared, who worked for The Pizza Shack (owned by the same family as Dulono’s) in high school. He opened a Mahtomedi location in January 2016 and in May of 2017, an expanded 5,300 square foot space in Minneapolis’ Warehouse District, which includes a full bar. This new space relocated the LynLake/Uptown location which closed in July after lease negotiations failed to continue operations in the original building.
After time in the army reserves and success owning other businesses, the Gruetts moved back to the Twin Cities in 2012, searching for an additional business venture (Jared’s wife, Sara Gruett, owns Salon Bambino, a family hair salon in Woodbury). The original Dulono’s owner was looking to retire, so Jared worked out a deal to purchase the business, which he runs with his family—bringing his three daughters and son to work while they all balance school and sports.
Eldest daughter Victoria is an assistant manager at Dulono’s while also balancing studies as a sophomore at St. Kate’s and playing on the hockey team. “That first summer, every day Monday through Friday, I’d go to work with my dad,” Victoria says. “I do a lot of studying here; my dad understands that school is my main job, so that’s really nice. Working here is fun. We have a good time.”
Second daughter Veronica just entered her freshman year at St. Kate’s, and is also on the hockey team. She worked at Dulono’s the past few years while attending high school at B.E. Emerson Prep Academy, a hockey school, between morning practices, workouts and online classes. “We have really good food. Everything’s fresh; I know because I cut it every morning,” Veronica says. And she’s learning a lot from her work responsibilities. “People think you don’t have to work as hard because my dad owns the business, but I think more is expected out of us,” she says.
Youngest daughter Violet is a sophomore at East Ridge High School and plays on the lacrosse team. This past summer was her first year working full-time at Dulono’s. “My parents wanted me to work here to teach independence, and they said I’ll thank them later,” Violet says. “It’s sometimes hard because none of my friends have jobs, but I do think it’s teaching me independence, and I’m saving for college.”
This past summer, Jared also brought their 11-year-old son, Vaughn, into the fold. “He comes to work with me most days and he folds and makes boxes; he’s getting pretty good, too,” Jared says.
In addition to pizza, the Woodbury Dulono’s Pizza location offers hoagies and fried appetizers and has a small dine-in space that seats about 30 people. They also deliver to the entire city of Woodbury, including parts of Oakdale and Cottage Grove.
Jared’s favorite pizzas include anything with fresh pineapple and fresh chopped garlic. His wife Sara says sausage and pepperoni are her go-to toppings. “The girls make up great combinations,” Sara says. “Someone always has a pizza almost every night.”