Businesses are constantly trying to adapt to an unusual pandemic world, and an experiment on Rochester’s Second Street Southwest is changing direction at the end of this year.
In May, Chef Pasquale Presa opened an express version of his Pasquale's Neighborhood Pizzeria at 1219 Second St. SW, across from Mayo Clinic's Saint Marys Hospital. Chef Jenyce Habibovic of Rochester’s Sweet House Bakery partnered with him on the project
In the morning and on weekends, Habibovic served coffee and fresh-baked pastries. In the afternoon and evening, Presa’s team sold pizza by the slice.
That will change at the end of December as Habibovic’s bakery will completely take over the space and Presa will pull the plug on his express experiment.
For Sweet House fans, that means that Habibovic’s croissants, apple turnovers, caramel rolls, cinnamon rolls, scones and more will be readily available more hours each day. The plan is to close the shop on Dec. 28, remodel the 700-square-foot space to serve as a bakery and re-open in mid-January.
“It's a good thing. I love what Jenyce does. She'll do very well” said Presa, though he was disappointed the express location didn’t do as well as he had hoped.
While selling pizza by the slice on the street did very well during the summer, business plummeted along with the temperature.
“Without the visitors, and the hospital staff not coming out as much, the slice business just doesn’t work,” he said. “But I’m happy that I tried it out.”
Presa said shutting down the express shop at the end of December means he’ll be able completely focus his attention on the main downtown restaurant and his growing frozen pizza business.
As more grocery stores, such as Hy-Vee, sell his frozen pizzas, Presa is pivoting his business a bit.
In the pre-pandemic world, his restaurant was often packed with customers. That led to an expansion to create a separate event space for parties and meetings. Of course, that is not much in demand these days.
“My frozen pizzas are doing so well, I had to buy a big freezer,” he said. And that freezer now sits in the unused event space.