MANKATO — A new pizza concept is coming to Mankato this spring and Vikings offensive tackle Matt Kalil will be behind the counter when it opens.
Kalil, 24, purchased the Minnesota franchise rights to the Rancho Santo Margarita, Calif.-based Pieology Pizzeria, a popular quick-serve, design-it-yourself pizza chain.
"Rather than waiting 25 minutes and everyone shares the same pizza, here you go through the line just like at Chipotle," said Matt's dad and business partner, Frank Kalil, of California.
"They use fresh ingredients and you add whatever you want to it, then it goes into an 800-degree oven and in a couple of minutes you're ready to go."
Customers choose from a wide selection of sauces, cheeses, meats, vegetables and other toppings or they can choose from seven types of specialty pizzas. The 12-inch, thin crust pizzas sell for $7.50.
The Mankato location will be at University Square. Kalil is opening others at Maple Grove and St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood and is looking at sites in Minneapolis and Eden Prairie.
Frank said his son, at 6-foot-7 and 310 pounds, has long been a big fan of pizza.
"Matt's the kind of guy that got in this business because he looks at football as an opportunity for a short period of time and he wants to make sure he has something going after," Frank said.
Frank said he half-jokingly told his son the pizza business could soon become his full-time endeavor if he doesn't perform better next season. Kalil, who is signed with the Vikes through 2015, had a difficult season.
Kalil, who was drafted by the Vikings in 2012, has a home in Eden Prairie.
"Coming from California, all you hear about Minnesota is Vikings and snow — he didn't know what to expect. But he loves hunting and the outdoors and really fell in love with the state," said Frank, a former United States Football League player who is volunteer president of the Corona (Calif.) Chargers, youth football league.
Frank said his son plans to work behind the counter at the opening of the Mankato and other stores.