A few weeks ago I did a tour of Lacon, Illinois, but I didn’t stop at The Pizza Peel, which is located right next to The Coffee Hub. Tonight I correct that as we have our 46th pizza pie at The Pizza Peel in Lacon, Illinois!
Okay, the MBIP Moblie is pointed to Lacon and as we learned from my last trip there, it's about a 27 minute trip. Let's put the pedal to the metal and see how long this trip takes.
Traffic was light and there weren't any cops in sight and I made it here in 24 minutes! I think that's a new record! Let's go in to The Pizza Peel and start this 46th pizza party!
The restaurant is located in the basement of the building and there's a steep staircase to walk down to get there.
One set of double doors to go through and we're inside The Pizza Peel.
There's a side dining room off to the left as you step in to the restaurant...
Here's the front counter with people lined up to pick up pizza's to go.
And this is the spacious main dining room. Let's grab a table and get settled in for this cheesy evening of pizza.
This is our pretty and friendly waitress for the evening, Niki, delivering up a 16 ounce glass of beer. Things are getting off to a great start in here!
Here's a view of the table where I'm seated. I really like the wooden walls in here and...
The stained glass lamps hanging over every table is a nice touch.
This is a view from the back of the room.
While taking photos I ran into Amanda, who's one of the managers here in the Pizza Peel. Everyone here is super-friendly and nice and it's a fun place to hang out in.
There's the kitchen where all the pizza magic happens!
This is Andy and Tad who work back in the kitchen. Andy assembles and cooks the pizzas and Tad makes the dough and the homemade pizza sauce for the pies. Andy said I could watch him make my pizza pie, so let's step in to the kitchen and watch him in action!
It always starts with the spreading of the dough for the pizza crust. The dough here is made fresh daily and proofed for three days in a cooler.
The crust is airborne as Andy gives it a twirl. As you can see, this man knows what he's doing!
After a few spins in the air, homemade sauce is generously ladled on the crust...
Then the ingredients are piled on top of the pie. I got ham, Italian sausage, bacon, mozzarella and cheddar cheese as toppings.
Andy slides it into the oven and so we'll head back to the table...
Where an order of chicken wings has just arrived with a cup of dipping sauce. Let's dig in!
The wings were really good. Spicy and juicy and I really liked the dipping sauce. I asked Niki what it was and she told me it's Frank's Red Hot Wing sauce. There's no escape!
Speaking of hot sauces, check out the selection at The PIzza Peel! Outstanding! And they have Tiger Sauce at the end, which I like but it's the first time I've seen it in a restaurant. Very impressive selection!
Alright, here's Niki with pizza number 46!
It looks and smells fantastic!
Time to let a couple of slices begin the all-important cooling process so I don't burn the top of my mouth and it's also an excuse to drink another beer.
This is great pizza! The toppings are fresh and tasty, but what really shines here is the crust and the sauce. The crust is flaky and has a nice chewy consistency to it and the sauce has a nice bold zingy tomato flavor to it. On my next visit, I'm going to have half the pizza with just the sauce and crust and try it that way.
Alright I got halfway through the pizza and there's three chicken wings left. I'm going to get those to go because...
We're going to have dessert next door at The Coffee Hub!
As soon as I walk in I'm greeted by The Coffee Hub owner and MBIP pal, Mike! Great to see him as always!
And I spy another familiar face down the aisle there...
It's yet another MBIP pal, Julie, from Julie's Corner Store with our special guest of the evening, the owner of Pizza Peel, Travis Guthman! Last summer Travis had a bad car accident and is temporarily in a wheelchair as he is going through therapy and medical treatment. Right now he can't get down the steep stairs to the Pizza Peel so we decided to meet at The Coffee Hub for dessert.
I got a cup of Earl Grey tea and a peppermint stick brownie and settled in for some conversation with Travis.
Travis grew up in Peoria and Pekin but moved to Greely, Colorado over twenty years ago. It was there he learned the pizza business at a local pizzeria. He started out as a dough boy and worked his way up to being the Operations Director for two high volume franchise pizza restaurants. Then in 2008 Travis and his wife Wendy and their six kids had an opportunity to move into Travis' Great-grandparent's 105 year-old farm just outside of Sparland and they made the move. A year later they opened the PIzza Peel in Lacon and it's been a success ever since. In addition to running the Pizza Peel, Travis is a talented photographer and you can check out his work and read more about him by clicking here: Travis Guthman Photography.
Okay, now it's time for the next day cold pizza challenge and there's Scott Turley's bottle of beer standing tall in the craft beer corner of the MBIP fridge.
It's delicious! Thanks to everyone at The Pizza Peel for a great evening and to MIke and Julie at The Coffee Hub (Julie paid for the brownie and tea!) and special thanks to Pizza Peel owner Travis for meeting with me. Travis has been through some tough times and it was inspiring to talk with someone who isn't letting it get him down and is fighting the good fight to come back stronger than ever! We'll see you all tomorrow!
Four Chef Boy Ardees—The crust and the sauce at the Pizza Peel are outstanding, stop by and try a pie when you can, it’s only 27 minutes from Peoria!
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