This week’s stop in our video series on local businesses with stories to tell: Garcia’s Pizza in Champaign.
Forget to go shopping for jewelry or fine chocolates in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day? Ralph Senn thinks there’s an obvious gift idea that lovers might not have considered.
“If you’re two days, three days out and you haven’t gone shopping, that’s a perfect time to call us and say, ‘Make something special for my children or for my spouse,’” said the co-owner of Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan.
Garcia’s has been gearing itself toward the Valentine’s Day crowd for 48 years, Senn said, by making pizza in the shape of a heart. The restaurant opened during February, so the idea seemed obvious to him and his co-owner, Joe Ream.
Over a week before the big day, the restaurant was already decked out in red Valentine’s Day-themed decorations with advertisements for its heart-shaped pizzas. Plates are decked out with red napkins, which Senn proudly displays.
And yes, couples do fill up the restaurant on Feb. 14, Senn said, even if it’s not your typical Valentine’s Day spot.
“We get a nice balance between people who dine in, pick up or delivery,” Senn said. “Delivery is also fun, because it’s usually a surprise for the person at the door. We’ll write a message on the box or convey verbally any message that anybody wants. Just let us know. We’ve done it long enough that we’ll do it right.”
Senn suggests calling ahead before the big day.
“It’s something that you share with your loved one, and it’s a very appreciated special gift, and you don’t have to break the bank,” he said. “It’s become a tradition that we’re very, very proud of.”