Heard on the Street: Two pizza places close abruptly

Rochester started the summer today with two less pizza places.

Papa John's, the pizza franchise known for delivering each pie with a jalapeno pepper, abruptly shuttered its two Med City locations Sunday night.

The closure came as a surprise to employees, who say the Rochester locations had been very understaffed for months. The owners were unavailable for comment. Employees say owners were trying to sell the franchises, but we're unsuccessful.

Papa John's corporate already has removed the Rochester locations from their website. Employees say the corporate office reportedly pulled the Rochester licenses during the week of May 23.

Other Papa John's franchisees bought the Rochester equipment in an in-store auction on Tuesday.


The south location of Papa John's originally opened at 2550 South Broadway in 2002 with about 45 employees. The north location operated at 3431 22nd Ave. N.W. Employees painted the windows of that site black on Tuesday.

The Rochester franchisees also had a Papa John's location in Eau Claire, Wis. The telephone for that shop also is disconnected.

Biz buzz

The opening and closing churn of Rochester eateries continues, and the word is that a new player is coming in to town to fill a recently vacated spot.

In March, Old Country Buffet abruptly closed its restaurant at 1300 Salem Road SW in the TJ Maxx & More Plaza.

Despite its large size, a deal is in the works to bring someone new into the space. If things go as planned, a Twin Cities restaurateur is on the way.

No word yet on the name or type of restaurant might cooking for that spot, but it seems like a buffet might be the best fit for the large spot. -- Jeff Kiger

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