It was a snowy winter evening in their mother's dining room, when a business partnership between brothers Matthew and Jeremy Willette was born. After successfully opening and running Carbone's in Blaine, Matthew was looking for a partner to purchase the local pizzeria and pub in his hometown of Mound, MN. What better person than his brother and partner-in-crime growing up?
Matthew began his career in the restaurant industry at the young age of 15 years-old when he worked at the Carbone's Pizzeria in Mound. He started as a deliver driver and cook, then assistant Manager, then moved up to General Manager by the age of 19. Four months after his 20th birthday, he purchased the old Manzetti’s location in Blaine, Minnesota, and opened a Carbone's franchise of his own. When asked about his inspiration for wanting to own a restaurant, he replied, "My father was a big inspiration for me. He owned his own business when we were growing up before he passed away. I saw his hard-work and determination and knew I wanted to be successful just like him. I knew I had big shoes to fill." After building the Carbone's in Blaine from the ground up, and managing to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Business on top of that, Matthew sold the business when he learned that Dailey's Pub and the Carbone's where his career had started was up for sale. He knew the pizzeria and neighboring pub had great potential if they could merge together into one entity. It was then that he reached out to his brother and proposed his business plan.
Jeremy was working as a mechanic at the time that his brother approached him. He too had worked at the pizzeria in his teens and also saw great potential in the two businesses. Although he didn't always see himself specifically owning a restaurant, he did have a passion to be an entrepreneur. He wanted a business where he could be hands on in daily operations. This seemed like the perfect fit for him. "I went headfirst into business ownership with only what I had learned from my friends and a semester long business class in college. My brother had a business degree and previous ownership experience. My brother taught me a lot about business and the restaurant industry." says Jeremy. The brothers would go on to learn and grow together. "We both learned from and fed off each other to build our brand and our business to what it is today."
The brothers purchased the two businesses on June 1st, 2011. They worked side-by-side, learning and adjusting the way the businesses ran as they went. Jeremy headed up handling the bar side of things, while Matthew took lead on the pizzeria. They began planning a remodel and restructure immediately. After seven months of preparation, they were able to bring their vision of one bar and restaurant to life. They closed for the remodel after their first New Year's Eve party on January 1st, 2012. 32 days later, there was no longer Carbone's Pizzeria with a food menu and Dailey's Pub with alcohol. They opened their doors on February 2nd for the first time as Carbone's Pizzeria Bar & Grill, bringing pizza and beer together as one.
Today, Carbone's Pizzeria Bar & Grill is still thriving. They offer an extensive pizza menu, accompanied by a variety of other options, including hoagies, pastas, wraps, burgers and more. They focus on a family friendly atmosphere while still being a go-to spot on weekend nights. Jeremy stepped back from operations in 2019 to pursue other business ventures. Matthew's passion is still the restaurant industry and functions as the company's CEO to this day.