HUMBOLDT, Iowa — Since 1959, the pizza at Pasquale’s has been made the same way.
“Sometimes we can toss a pizza and play with our food,” said Matt Brown, Pasquale’s Pizza.
It starts with a thin crust that is followed by a family secret which has been handed down for decades.
“The sauces are made from scratch each day,” says Brown. “The ingredients we use, all fresh! We top it off with fresh mozzarella.”
Five-hundred degrees and 15 minutes later.
“You gotta let it sit or you’ll burn your mouth. That is hard to do sometimes,” Brown says.
That first bite is what hooks you and that’s why they are a legend throughout Humboldt County.
“I’ve been told it’s got a cult-like following. When people move away, they come back to Humboldt for family get-togethers or holidays this is the first place they come,” said Brown. “It’s very humbling to be a part of that.”
It’s something else though that keeps customers coming in.
“It’s a priceless ingredient,” said Brown. “For me, pizza is a community meal, it’s a family meal.”
That feeling of family can be found at Pasquale’s and it comes with no extra charge.
“You just can’t get that anywhere, anymore. It feels like everything has gone commercialized,” said Brown.
Matt Brown’s family has been perfecting its recipe since the business opened in the ‘50s. Matt and his wife Jenni took over for her parents in 2004.
“It’s been very good to us and our family. It’s very neat to be a part of something with so much tradition,” Brown says.
So much of their success today can be traced back to the beginning, when Jenni’s Grandpa Marv started it all.
“Marvin was a larger than life character. Everybody loved him and he loved everybody. I still have customers today that come in and tell me stories about Marv,” said Brown.
It was the customers they call family, that were there for them when they needed it most.
“It’s heartwarming. We have the best customers,” said Brown. The original building caught fire in 2013, and it was the community that supported them and got Pasquale’s cooking again.
“If it wasn’t for the customers we wouldn’t be here,” says Brown.
It’s been 56 years since the door to their family business opened and the good news for Humboldt is it already looks like it will be open another 50.
“Yes, our oldest son, he bugs me. Every day in the summer when there is nothing to do, he wants to come into work.”