A World War 2 vet by the name of “Smitty” (sorry real name is not known by the living), while serving in Italy, discovered pizza. After discharge from the service, Smitty worked in a New York City pizzeria learning all he could about making Pizza.
Sometime in the middle 50’s, he moved to Ripon, Wisconsin, and Pizza Villa was born. Two used car salesmen, Gene Penman and Bud Domagetz, thought that pizza would be more fun than selling cars. Gene worked for Smitty for 6 months. Bud moved on to make peanut butter pizzas in Florida, for Disneyworld.
In September of 1958 Pizza Villa in Beaver Dam, Wisc. opened in the Beaver Hotel. It was in this time a new employee by the name of Lee Diels started working for Pizza Villa. In the early 60’s Pizza Villa moved to South Center Street. At this time, the closest pizzeria was Shakey’s in Madison, Wisconsin.
Pizza Villa in Janesville, Wisconsin opened in August of 1963.
Pizza Villa in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin opened in September of 1966.
Beaver Dam Pizza Villa and Janesville Pizza Villa both closed in 1990.
Lee Diels and Don Salomaki purchased Pizza Villa in Fort Atkinson in November of 1978. The ownership stayed this way until Don passed away in 1984.
In May of 2003, Lee’s son Ron Strohbusch purchased Pizza Villa.
In all of the changes of ownership, the one thing that has stayed the same is the way we make Pizza’s. The recipe is the same one from the 50’s that Smitty brought to Wisconsin from New York. We still add over 3 pounds of spice to our sauce, grind our cheese in the 3-cheese blend, make the dough fresh in house, and cut fresh vegetables to make the best pizza for our customers.
We only use the best Wisconsin cheese. Our meat comes from Rivers Edge Farm Market. Our pepperoni comes from Eden meats which is special made for Pizza Villa. Our Canadian bacon comes from Jones Dairy Farm.
We support local merchants with our purchases, because they are our customers also!