The idea for a wood-fired pizza restaurant came to myself and a friend while both of us attended college in Florida and worked at the same restaurant that had a wood-fired oven, we both thought it would be great idea to open a restaurant there.
Well our plans didn’t go as expected and never did get off the ground so I decided to move back to the Quad Cities and pursue the dream here.
In the spring/summer of 1996 we began testing several dough and sauce recipes in a building that had recently been purchased by my family. That building is the current location of Pagalo’s Pizzeria & Gelato Café.
The building at the time was nothing more than an empty shell. The building was originally to our knowledge a bakery called Eckstrom’s Bakery (this was actually where my parents wedding cake came from). Our restrooms currently occupy what was once the walk-in cooler for the bakery.
Since the bakery the building had been divided up and has occupied several businesses from Nation’s Hair Salon to a battery store, Shear Images Hair Salon, a plumbing business, a tile store, a satellite store and an Irish gift shop.
An interesting fact is that at one time the house that is attached to the building once housed the Justice of the Peace in the basement.
During the spring/summer of 1996 we bought a small wood-fired oven to conduct our test. We would have taste testing parties almost every Friday night with friends and family over the course of the next few months.
The taste testing, some good, some not so good led us to what we have today, considered by many to be the best pizza crust and sauce they have ever had. We had created something that was completely new and different to the Quad Cities.
After we found our signature pizza dough and sauce we tore out the test oven and began an extensive overhaul and remodel of the building that included new plumbing, electrical, windows, drywall, etc. including a new parking lot and access through the back of the building.