LACON, Ill. -- There's a restaurant in Marshall County with a welcoming look and pizza with a lot of appeal.
Travis Guthman opened the Pizza Peel after 13 years in the pizza business.
To Guthman and his regular guests, the Pizza Peel makes you feel right at home.
"We have an open kitchen that's kind of inviting," said Guthman. You get to see where your food is made. It's a really good hand-made crust. It's nice and crunchy, it's crispy. We like to put honey on it afterwards, so it's like your dessert and your dinner all in one."
"So when people walk through that door I want them to feel at home, I want them to feel at home and take care of them really well."
And that approach transfers well to his cooking habits.
"It just tastes more authentic to me, "said customer Jillian Allen. It doesn't taste like a mass-produced kind of thing."
Photographer Dave Jansen and I ordered a fourteen inch classic combo with pepperoni, sausage, green pepper and onion.
You can't go wrong with a classic, and we agreed immediately that there is something special about the crust here.
What really impressed us both was one of the secret recipes here: the calzone.
We ordered a large with the Pizza Peel's signature "barbecue feast" recipe.
I can't find the right words to describe how much I enjoyed the calzone.
I don't know what that does for my credibility as a journalist, but it should say a lot about the reputation of the crust.
For dessert we were continuously impressed by the chocolate chip calzone.
It almost looks too good to be true, and it tastes as good as it looks.
A large pizza and calzone, dessert and two soft drinks came to $36.39 plus tip.
Guthman said he's even roped in some regulars from Peoria.
"I think we astound them when they come to a small town," said Guthman," and they walk down these stairs and open the door and go, 'Oh, this is a lot different than we expected."
The Pizza Peel is at 340 on 5th Street in Lacon.
It's open from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM Monday through Thursday.
It is open until 10:00 PM on the weekends and stays closed on Sundays.