HOME > Chowhound > Minneapolis-St. Paul >

Discussion

Grampa Tony's - New Management

  • 25
  • Share

I should have known something was up when I called to order a pizza for pick up. I mentioned I had a coupon, and the voice on the other end said, "Let me look up which one you have."

When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was the the picture of Grampa was gone from the vesitbule wall. Inside the dining room I noticed all the photographs (celebrity and sports types) had been taken down, a new paint job, less crowded seating, and the ice cream case had been removed. On the counter was a wooden wine case that had "Tenuta Il Poggione" on it. Wow, if they are going to carry that wine, that's quite an upgrade.

I asked the woman behind the counter if the place was under new management. Yes, for about a week now. Eventually, the name might change. It looks like the menu has slightly.

I had ordered a pan pizza. The box was pretty light compared with what I'm used to the Grampa Tony's pan pizza being. When I opened it, it was more like a slighty thicker thin crust. So new recipies, too.

The pizza tasted fine. I was just wanting a thicker crust since I was carbo loading for a long run the following day. No big deal, though.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Huh...interesting. Strange that they would change the recipes. Thanks for the heads up.

    ~TDQ

    2 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      I live within walking distance from Grandpa Tony's and have been eating their pizza for years, best in the area IMHO. Excited to try this "revamped" Grandpa Tony's.

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Story about this (short story) in last week's Taste in the Pioneer Press. Gah, Joan's in the Park (stupid name, IMHO) and I don't like the generic decor. I will miss Grandpa Tony's.

      2. Perhaps I should have titled the thread new ownership. Pretty sure the name will change. Just noticed my credit card receipt: Joan's in the Park.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Brad Ballinger

          Oh how interesting. Is there a website link on the receipt?

          ~TDQ

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Don't recall seeing one. And a Google search yielded one return -- a web site called foursquare.com, where a poster mentioned that Grampa Tony sold so he could retire. That same poster also commented that the food is exactly the same. Not true.

            1. re: Brad Ballinger

              I guess we'll just have to wait and see then. Thanks for the heads up!

              ~TDQ

            2. re: The Dairy Queen

              I found this on their website:

              To our Valued Customers,
              As you may have noticed, since the beginning of July 2011 there have been big changes at Grampa Tony's. We would like to inform our customers that after 27 years of business in the Highland Park area we have sold the restaurant. Since July 1st, Grampa Tony's has been under new ownership and management.
              Our food was more than just a product to us and our customers were more than just customers, you were our friends. We also "Thank You" for appreciating the quality of which we did things.
              Contact us at GTstpaul@gmail.com . Feel free to leave comments, questions or if you are interested in any of the pictures that were on the walls, they are for sale.
              From Ed, the owner and his family, Michelle, the manager and the staff of Grampa Tony's it's been a terrific 27 years.

              http://www.grampatonyspizza.com/

              -----
              Highland Park
              St. Paul, MN, St Paul, MN

              1. re: Bobannon

                Thanks for the email. I grew up a few blocks from Grampa Tony's and loved it. I hate what the new owners did with it. I wandered in there by mistake while they were remodeling and they said they wouldn't be changing it, well, that was a lie. It's now a "non-pretentious" restaurant serving things like pumpkin ravioli and goat cheese salad, beef carpacio, roasted poussin. And they still offer GT's pizza, or what they call GT's pizza, but I am counting the days until that offer is no longer valid. Maybe it will be nice for people who want the kind of experience you have at the ridiculous restaurants downtown.

                I will miss Grampa Tony's because it was a legendary outfit. I wish that Ed and them had sold to someone who would keep the spirit of the place alive. It looks like they just dumped it off on whoever would buy the place though and I could not be more disappointed with what happened.

                1. re: elandriel

                  No prices on the online menu. What does the average dish cost?

          2. I first encountered GT's on Madeleine Island decades ago. Their pizza was a highlight of that trip. So I was surprised to find it here in my hometown. I'm not sure - maybe they opened up here after having their place on Madeleine Island? Maybe someone knows.

            Anyway, I have very fond memories of the place and their pizzas.

            8 Replies
            1. re: karykat

              Really? Grampa Tony's is a chain?

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                yeah it was a chain of two restaurants owned by the same family.

                1. re: zfwp

                  I didn't know that. Well, two restaurants is hardly an empire, but I didn't realize the Highland Park location had a double.

                  I don't know who wrote the website copy for Joan's in the Park but it could use a little copyediting. http://www.joansinthepark.com/ I hope the food is better than their writing and better than the pizza I ordered from them right after the purchase. I didn't love my one experience at Tria a thousand years ago, either.

                  Since Joan apparently grew up in the neighborhood, she must be fully aware that she's dismantled a beloved neighborhood institution. Now, it would be nice to have some decent food that isn't pizza in that Snelling/Randolph area, but it really had better be good. I've got my fingers crossed.

                  ~TDQ

                  -----
                  Highland Park
                  St. Paul, MN, St Paul, MN

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    So Joan's in the Park is the old Grampa Tony's? I saw Joan's in the Park on Open Table and thought it was some other new place. Interesting.

                    1. re: Seige

                      Yes! Joan's is in the old Grampa Tony's space.

                      ~TDQ

                  2. re: zfwp

                    Do you happen to know how that came about? Did the family have Madeline Island ties? I somehow think the one here in St. P opened later but am not sure.

                    1. re: karykat

                      Yeah I think I remember reading that one of them moved to St. Paul from NY and brought the recipe with them or something similar to that. One of the articles on the wall detailed the story, before they sold the place. There was a relation between the two stores though.

                      1. re: elandriel

                        i think grampa was on the wrestling circuit and pizza was just part of the deal...

              2. Ate here once since the ownership change and was quite disappointed in the altered pizza recipe.

                I always thought that the Tony's Special was was of the most perfect pizzas in the Twin Cities. The crust is definitely different, and there were other changes (sausage wasn't as good, etc)...

                I haven't been back since, and probably won't be until/unless the old recipes are returned. Sorry Joan, [warning, cover the kids' eyes] f'n with success is just a dumb thing to do..

                2 Replies
                1. re: s4zando

                  I predict by this time next year both Joan's and Palumbo's will be gone.

                  1. re: Fudist

                    I'd rather they both just step it up and turn into the kind of places the neighborhood needs!

                    ~TDQ

                2. Oooh, Joan's is planning to build a patio next spring. Now, that's some very welcome news.

                  http://www.twincities.com/restaurants...

                  ~TDQ

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I retract my earlier statement about Joan's but still believe Palumbo's will be gone next year. I had dinner at Joan's last Saturday night and was delighted. I started with the crab cake which tasted like fresh crab should and was more crab than cake(always a good thing). For the main I ordered the 14.oz Prime New York Strip which was perfectly cooked med rare with a nice crust on the outside. Accompanied with caramelized sweet onions with a hint of aged balsamic. Also enjoyed the meal with a few Left Hand Milk Stout's. The dinning experience I had here was quite pleasurable and I will be returning especially after spending just over $50.00 after tax and tip.

                    1. re: Fudist

                      Very high praise indeed.