The Paulson family would like to welcome you to the Pizza Barn. Over 34 years ago, my parents, Noel and Carol Paulson, had a brainstorm that they wanted to start their own business. Noel, being a sixth grade math teacher, and Carol, working in the local cafe in Spring Valley Minnesota, wanted to take a leap and try something new. What they came up with was a casual family restaurant. What the menu would focus on was everyone’s favorite, PIZZA! What better business for a Scandinavian family to start than an Italian Pizzeria! Their first location was in Forest Lake, Minnesota in 1982. Wanting to raise my brother Chris and I in a smaller community much like the one we came from, Mom and Dad began to travel the state looking for the perfect location outside the Twin Cities Metro area. The perfect location being “a small town that doesn’t already have a pizza place.” Traveling the area, they stumbled upon Princeton. It was small and it didn’t have a pizza place. PERFECT! They left the Forest Lake location and traveled slightly north and so begins the start of the Princeton Pizza Barn. With their own creativity, the help of our extended family and lots of trial and error, they came up with a menu that has only had minor changes over the last 34 years.
Much credit is given to my Grandfather, Richard Winslow. He received his first training as a baker at “Holland’s Bakery, what is more commonly known today as “Newt’s” in downtown Rochester. He also was a baker at the Kahler Hotel in Rochester where he made their breads and “fancy cakes” as he liked to call them. Although we don’t have “fancy cakes” at the Pizza Barn, Grandpa Winslow did create all of our bread recipes as well as our pizza dough. If you are in the mood for Pizza today, we think you will like his recipe for pizza crust...not thick and doughy, not thin and crispy...just perfect!
My parents, Noel and Carol came up with a majority of the rest of the menu, including the pizza sauce, spaghetti, alfredo sauce, famous sub sandwiches, and specially blended garlic butter...used to add a little (ok a LOT) of flavor to many of our recipes (please grab a mint upon completion of your meal)! They also came up with the topping combinations for our specialty pizzas. Notice our famous “Cowpie” pizza on the menu. Whats a Barn without a Cowpie, right? Aunt Debra from San Diego can be credited with introducing us to “Calzones” back in the late 1980’s. We decided to simplify the “Calzone” and simply call it a “Pocket Pizza.” Although all of our recipes are “secret,” we have two homemade salad dressings that are “super secret!” Carol created our italian dressing which can certainly be used on a salad, but the locals know it as the “special sauce” we put on our Sub Sandwiches. Uncle Neal created our French Dressing. A Norwegian and a Fin in an Italian restaurant creating a French and Italian Dressing. We are a melting pot in Princeton!
Thanks for stopping in! Whether this is your first time dining with us, or you grew up in Princeton and have been here more times than you can count, we appreciate each and everyone of you. Speaking for myself, I am proud of the hard work and dedication my parents have put into this simple little place. I love the fact that with so many other Pizza places to choose from in the area, we still have a loyal following of locals. Friends from my generation that have spread your wings and left P-town, thanks for making the Pizza Barn a destination when you venture back into town. It seems everyone has a Pizza Barn Story to share from back in the day.
If you happen to be here in the early part of the day, ask for my Dad, Noel, and say hello. At 72 years old, he may still be in the back making bread or pizza dough. My mom, Carol, most likely is at her home office paying the bills and cutting the paychecks. Chances are during the week, Bridget will be taking care of you in the dining room. Her loyalty to this place over the last16+ years has made her a very special part of our family and we count on her to take good care of you. My brother Chris and his wife Kari are often “taste testing” with my nieces and the table right in front of the till. They are often joined by my own three children Sonia, Jillian and Haydn. They know that if they want their mother to make them dinner, it’s not happening at home, it’s happening here. The Pizza Barn is our home away from home! As for Uncle Neal, he may be sleeping at table 11 while playing Sudoku. Just give him a nudge if you want to say hello! If you’re here in the evening, ask for me, Jody. Have the wait staff pull me out of the kitchen...
I would love to meet you and hear about your Pizza Barn experience.Enjoy and thank you Princeton for being part of our 34 years in the community.
Jody Paulson Stay