OCTOBER 1, 1975
The dream becomes a reality. We open the doors at 41 South Cleveland after months of sweat equity. The doors open at 4:00 PM – and we were the first to offer Hot Hoagies in the Twin Cities area. It will be a few months before we are open for lunch. We offer nine different hoagies and the first New York style pizza in the Twin Cities.
As our company grows (see our shop opening timeline) we add items to our menu that are either created internally or requested frequently by our customers. Some that have stood the test of time would be our Garlic Cheese Bread, Turkey Bacon Chipotle Hoagie, a Solo Pizza, Deep Dish Pizza, White Pizza, 15 layer Lasagna, Six Grain Buns, Ciabatta as an option, and so on.
By the end of the 70’s we have 4 shops operating in the Twin Cities. By the end of the 80’s we have grown to 12 locations and have 17 restaurants and our own bakery by the end of the 90’s. The new millennium brings 4 additions to our restaurant roster and we add 2 coffee shops. We are still privately held.
The original Pontillo’s opened in Batavia, New York in 1947. As we grew, we needed to have a name that could be trademarked. In going through the process of the name change, Davanti’s was suggested which means leader in Italian. When tested with our customers, the idea of Davanti’s meant a tablecloth and candle type of restaurant. So, we dropped the t and added an n and the DAVANNI’S name was born. It tested better with customers describing a more laid back, casual atmosphere. We changed our name on August 15, 1983. Some of the most memorable marketing our customers still comment on is from our name change. In January 1981 we opened our first and last Hoagie only shop in Uptown. We added pizza by October.
In 1986 we added delivery to all shops and provide it all day, every day. This same year we held our first ever Pizzalympics.
In 1997 Oven Hearth Bakery was born from the need for a bakery with both large capacity efficiency and the quality of a hands-on boutique bakery.
In February 2006 we opened our own coffee shop Coffee Bené next door to the Cleveland & Grand shop. We were also approached by St. Thomas library to partner and open another Coffee Bené within O’Shaughnessey-Frey Library which opened February 2010.
Since 1975 we have built our business through word-of-mouth advertising. “If You Like It, Tell Others. If You Don’t, Tell Us”®
We have more than 1,100 employees throughout the metro and enjoy some of the longest tenures in our industry. Our employees create the magic that is DAVANNI’S and are led by some of the finest managers in the industry. Among all of our management ranks, we enjoy an average tenure of just over 17 years and general managers average 23 years. All together, including our corporate staff, management at our shops, bakery and coffee shops we have well over 1,500 combined years of experience. This has allowed us over the years to take care of the most important part of our success – our customer!