This was originally an Instagram post I wrote after an excursion to central Illinois. I’ve edited it slightly for the blog.
Every once in a while when you’re traveling you have an experience that is nothing short of remarkable. A random act of kindness and generosity that perhaps was more common in an earlier time in this country. We were on the road on a holiday and decided to try to find lunch in Galesburg.
Most businesses were closed in the architecturally charming but still largely vacant downtown where we hoped to find some vegan friendly options. We happened to see a group of people eating in a place called baked and tried the door. The door seemed to be locked and I thought maybe it just sticks so I tried it a second time. No, it was locked so we started to walk away. Someone opened the door and he invited us to come in even though they were closed. It turns out that the people eating were friends of the owner and not merely random customers like we were. It felt awkward at first but we were hungry. We asked if he could make pizza without cheese and meat and he said sure. He asked what we’d like for toppings from a long list of locally available ingredients including sausage made in house, so we said you put what you want on it, half vegan half regular.
The result was one of the best pizzas and most enjoyable meals we’ve had in a long time. The owner and his wife sat with us and visited after their friends left and it felt like having dinner in someone’s home. True hospitality by someone who obviously puts his heart into making good pizza and making people happy. That’s a good business model.
Back in September they just had a small dining area in the front with a couple of tables, the adjacent space was blocked off with a tarp for renovation. We’ve been back twice since then. Both times the pizza was exceptional and we’re happy to report that both times we stopped they were packed. We’re also happy to report that Galesburg seems to be doing better. The downtown was active and bustling. A place worth exploring.