Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

The Pizza Place
Did you know that the nationally famous Mr Gatti’s Pizza originated in Stephenville?  My first year as a freshman at Tarleton was in 1966/67.  As a commuter, my friends and I often ate at the Yucca Hut!  It was a very small building located at the corner of Washington and Lillian where the large parking lot is now.  It wasn’t on the very corner, but down a tad toward the Dairy Queen.
Jim and Pat Eure opened the Yucca Hut in 1967, as shown by the ad in the 1967 Grassburr.  It was so successful that they had to close almost immediately and build next door to the west.  They named the new restaurant The Pizza Place – which was located just east of the present Dairy Queen.  The photo above is from the 1968 Grassburr and shows the inside of the “new” Pizza Place!  It was complete with an old upright piano, and they even showed movies sometimes!
The Eure’s sold the original business and leased the property to R.H. Blanks – for several years the little building was a donut shop!  It was torn down, possibly close to the time that Safeway built on that corner!
After building the Pizza Place, Jim and Pat Eure went to Austin and built Pizza Places all over Central Texas!  Pat Eure’s maiden name was Gatti and they soon changed the name to Mr. Gatti’s  -  which became a national chain with over 300 restaurants!
Back to our own Pizza Place………Dave Dickerson, who owns our Pizza Place, worked in the original Pizza Place when he was a Tarleton student.  He was one of the original crew trained by the Eures.  The food is still the same as it was when I was a Tarleton student……….lunch specials….subs….pizza….spaghetti!!
Colonel & Mrs. Eure put a large congratulatory note in the February 19, 1984 Stephenville Empire Tribune to Dave and Sherry Dickerson for reopening the Pizza Place!  This was after closing and extensively remodeling the building by the Dairy Queen, and where our parking lot is now located.  Jim and Pat Eure also congratulated the people of Stephenville for helping make The Pizza Place and  Mr Gatti’s a success!  “The people of Stephenville can take some pride in the fact that they put the stamp of approval on a product that is enjoying national flavor”!  By 2002 our Pizza Place had rebuilt in its current location on Harbin Drive and our Tarleton parking lot expanded the rest of the way to the Dairy Queen!
So next time you eat at a Mr Gatti’s you will know that it all began in Stephenville – with lots of Tarleton students as customers – AND – it is still here – The Pizza Place!

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Really cool information! and I now I am hungry for pizza.