If you head to your local grocer's frozen pizza section, I would bet that there is a very good chance that you would find some Pasquale's Pizza for sale. More than 30 years ago, Pasquale's Pizza started offering fresh, frozen pizza to the hungry Iowa and Midwestern consumer. With it's signature red and green labels, Pasquale's has become a fan favorite for pizza eaters of all ages.
However, before there was ever a frozen pizza in your shopping cart - the fine people of Humboldt and the surrounding area put Pasquale's on the map. Started in 1959 by two brothers who used their mother's recipes, the Italian eatery, over the past 60 years, has grown into a community icon.
I've certainly enjoyed their frozen pizza, but on a recent Saturday, I made the pilgrimage to Humboldt to visit the original. I wanted to try one of their famous pies hot from their own oven.
Located on Highway 169 just south of the 169 and Highway 3 intersection, the restaurant's parking lot (this was at lunch) was full when I arrived.
I finally found a parking spot behind the building.
It wasn't overly busy when I arrived but there were a number of tables and booths full of hungry patrons.
There was a television in one corner that was broadcasting a college basketball game on it.
In the back of the restaurant was a private room. I assume it is used for private parties or maybe when it is especially busy.
Obviously, the pizza is what they are known for but they have other things on the menu, too. From pastas and sandwiches to salads, you probably cannot go wrong.
Since this was my first visit to the original restaurant, I decided that I needed to have a pizza. I got a 10" small all-meat pizza. It was quite delicious and it included bacon bits that were sprinkled on top. We all love sugar cookies with sprinkles and pizza with bacon sprinkles is probably even better! I approved of every square inch of it.
There is some fun decor on the walls, including a copy of the Declaration of Independence. You don't see that all that often in restaurants.
Of course, if you want to get some branded merchandise to take home, there are t-shirts and hats for sale.
In a little nook, I spotted a couple of vending machines that will dispense either stickers or stuffed animals.
The ceiling included some exposed beams that add a lot of character.
You can see into the kitchen from where you are sitting. You walk by the counter when you arrive or depart.
Like any good community establishment, there were table tents promoting an upcoming choir performance and a bulletin board in the entrance full of announcements.
On the way back to my car, I found one of their delivery trucks that I am sure is often on the road trying to keep grocers stocked with the fresh but frozen goodness.
I am glad I finally made it to the original and it was a great experience. I have many friends from my college days at Iowa State who grew up in Humboldt. Some of them even worked at Pasquale's growing up and they continue to sing it's praises. Many towns have one of those staples that former residents have to have when they come back to town. For people from the Humboldt area, Pasquale's seems to be it. Humboldt has a number of other restaurants that I will have to try in the future, though I would also perfectly content enjoying Pasquale's again. It's a great Iowa success story that has continued to thrive for nearly 60 years.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Humboldt 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 my website.