I'm paraphrasing here, but there is an old saying that essentially says, "There's no such thing as bad pizza". For someone who likes pizza, I could maybe find a lot of agreement with that. But let's be honest, not all pizza is created equally. There may not be 'bad' pizza, but some pizza is simply better and more memorable than others.
One place that fits that upper echelon billing? El Fredo Pizza in Sioux City.
According to the restaurant's Facebook page, the pizzeria was started by Fred S. Lennon.
"Fred's dream was to create a high quality product with a homemade feel. Fred's son, John, took over the family business in 1987. El Fredo's has worked to create a family friendly atmosphere, while offering the same high quality product that Fred envisioned," the Facebook page notes.
Located a bit north of the downtown and a few blocks to the west of the well-traveled Hamilton Blvd, El Fredo has been a staple of the Sioux City culinary scene since 1957.
There is nothing overly flashy about the building. It's been painted a cream color, there's a logo on the east side of the building, and each rounded window has maroon awnings. It's surrounded by a paved parking lot and there is a stand-alone sign let's you know you are in the right spot.
There is a drive-thru window on the west end of the building.
Inside, you are greeted by handsome wood panels on the walls and a large mural that gives you the feel like you have been transported back to Italy.
There are several different rooms where you can dine (well, you will be once this Coronavirus scare is behind us and in-restaurant dining is allowed again). This first room has some booths and a few tables. It's again covered with wood on the walls and ceiling and tiles on the floor.
This room was closed and it was dark, but I found what appears to be a space that could be used for a private event. One long table with a checkered table cloth was set up on this particular Saturday evening.
There's a bar room with a rectangle bar and a number of different stool seats tucked in.
Even further back from the main entrance, there's a larger carpeted room with a few televisions mounted on the walls. My friends and I decided to sit in this dining room. It has a cozy feel with brick walls, multiple levels, and ample table seating.
In one room I passed through, I found this collection of pizza racks to be quite a spectacle. I'm sure they get pulled off the wall by a server as your pizza is delivered to your table.
If you need something to do while you are waiting for your pizza, or you show up a bit early for your pick-up order, or you have an antsy child or two in your party, you can take them to an arcade area.
When you are ready to order, you head up to a window that gives you a view into their busy kitchen.
Next to the window is a container of menus but they are also have it listed on the wall. I also found it online in case you want have it handy for your upcoming take-out order.
So what is on the menu?
It would compare favorably with just about any other family-owned Italian restaurant. There are appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pastas, and of course...pizza. They also have lunch specials and options for children.
They offer a couple of specialty pizzas, but otherwise you can mix and match any number of toppings on four different sizes. And yes, for those of you interested in the debate, pineapple can be an option on their pizzas.
Not to mention, they also have a couple of different sauces. As they note in their marketing, their secret's in the sauce! As you can find on their Facebook page, "El Fredo Pizza has been using the same sauce recipe that Fred hand-crafted in 1957, while also offering original recipes to many of your favorite Italian dishes."
On certain nights of the week, they also have different specials.
Despite growing up about an hour north of Sioux City, this was my first time visiting this pizzeria. Thus, I wanted to keep it simple and I ordered a pepperoni pizza. I did not want too many toppings clouding out the flavor of the sauce. I have to say, it was a very delicious. Expectations were met and exceeded.
As I was doing some online research, I found that they have been exploring the possibility of opening up another location in Sioux Falls, SD. It's been years since I've been to Sioux Falls so I am not sure what the pizza scene is like there these days. However, I'm sure anytime South Dakota gets something from Iowa - it improves the state greatly.
If you are in the Sioux City area and have never given El Fredo a try or it's been awhile, it might be time to connect or re-connect with the secret sauce. As this Coronavirus / Covid-19 crisis continues on, it's important to support your local restaurants as they are losing a substantial part of their business with the ban on in-establishment dining. If you have a hankering for pizza (and especially good pizza), El Fredo and the secret sauce will satisfy your craving.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Woodbury County or any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you have a good idea or would like to host the Iowa Adventurer, please drop me a note through this website.