Skip to page content
Return to Top

The Pizza Place: Mmm...Pizza

The Pizza Place, we remember it as a place to go after a baseball game or after school let out early; to go with your friends to hang out, eat pizza, watch TV, and even play some video games. Most recently the Pizza Place is moving to a new location. Although it may not be the same building or have the same location, we will always remember the original Pizza Place.

The Pizza Place was started in 1967, by a Lt. Col. James and Pat Eure, his wife. The original name wasn't Pizza Place, but it was called the Yucca Hut. It actually started out just next door to where the old Pizza Place building stands today.

A few months later Col. Eure realized he needed a bigger building, so he bought the lot and built the Pizza Place as we remember it. Just one year later Col. Eure and his wife moved to Austin, but before they moved, they sold the Pizza Place to two men: R. H. Blanks and Mike Legion. After Col. Eure moved to Austin, he opened the first Mr. Gatti's pizza stores. He named it after his wife's maiden name— Gatti. While in Austin, Eure had made the Mr. Gatti's pizza chain the fourth largest in the country, having around 300 stores. The Eures once again sold their business, along with the homemade pizza recipes, to a man from Kingsville, Texas.

Meanwhile Mr. Blanks and Mr. Legion had started their own chain of Pizza Places with locations in Weatherford, Brownwood, Granbury, and San Angelo. Then, in December of 1983, David and Sherry Dickerson bought the chain from Mr. Blanks and Mr. Legion.

The Dickersons had been living in Arkansas working for at a branch office for the LTV Corporation based in Dallas, when a good friend of David's from college (who is now the current owner of the Pizza Place in Weatherford), called and told the Dickersons that the Pizza Place was up for sale. The Dickersons had always wanted to own their own business, and David had been one of the construction workers who helped build the Pizza Place while he was in college at Tarleton. So the Dickersons moved down to Stephenville and are now the current owners of the Pizza Place. Since the Dickersons have owned the Pizza Place, they have added the ice cream bar and items to the menu such as: lasagna, spaghetti, sub sandwiches, and other favorites.

The only two remaining Pizza Places are now located in Weatherford and Stephenville. The original, in Stephenville, because of maintenance problems and the ever-growing University, is now moving to a new location on Harbin St. across from the old Pastafina building.

These next two sections are the actual dialogs that I recorded, on tape and over the phone, with Mrs. Dickerson, the wife of Mr. Dickerson, who is the current owner of the Pizza Place; and the second is with Roger Ammons, who worked at the Pizza Place a few years back. Each dialog begins right after I have introduced myself, and both end right before I thank the interviewee.

Will

     What year did the Pizza Place open?

Mrs. Dickerson

     OK, the Pizza Place started in 1967.

Will

     1967- all right

Mrs. Dickerson

     And it was actually called, at that time, the Yucca Hut

Will

     Yucca Hut

Mrs. Dickerson

     Uh-huh- Y-U-C-C-A

Will

     All right. Was there the ice cream bar back then like they have now?

Mrs. Dickerson

     No they did not have the ice cream [bar]. When they first opened, the original Pizza Place did not have the ice cream [bar].

Will

     Do you know around, about when that was added?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Oh we added it, I think in, oh, 1984— around that time.

Will

     Did yawl actually open it, or did someone else open the store?

Mrs. Dickerson

     No, the original, the very original. Pizza Place was opened by Lt. Col. James and Pat Eure, his wife.

Will

     Col.— what was his name?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Eure- E-U-R-E

Will

     And his wife?

Mrs. Dickerson

    And his wife's name was Pat.

Will

    OK, All right, what was your reason for moving from Washington St. to the place yawl are in now?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Well, we decided the building was so old that we were having to do so much maintenance on it and we felt like we knew the college would eventually [take] us, and we thought we would [move] on our own terms. And we felt like we needed a new building to be able to have less maintenance and whatever on it.

Will

     Do yawl use the same methods of cooking as you did back then, now? Like do you yawl use the same ovens or do you have new, updated stuff.

Mrs. Dickerson

     No, we have the same ovens that we used from the beginning.

Will

     Neat. Has the building always been on Washington St. prior to the movement now, the most recent movement?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Yes

Will

     It has always been there?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Yes

Will

     Did yawl have that drive thru at the beginning, or was that added?

Mrs. Dickerson

     That was added.

Will

     That was added?

Mrs. Dickerson

     [Yes].

Will

     What made yawl decide to purchase— yawl purchased it right? Vail bought the place and opened— what made yawl decide to buy it?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Oh, my husband was working for LTV Corporation out of Dallas, and we were in Arkansas working there for LTV at their branch office. And one of [David's] best friends from college, Robert Duvari[?], who has the Pizza Place in Weatherford, called and asked my husband— told him that he knew that the Pizza Place was going to be opened, that it was going to come up for sale. [Robert] thought that we might be interested in it, and my husband has always wanted to own his own business. And he had helped build the original Pizza Place while he was in college at Tarleton.

Will

     Where did yawl get your recipes? Did yawl just use the ones they had there, when it first opened, or did yawl— did you already know it, or what?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Well basically [we used] the original recipes, what they had, the only difference would be that we made our own recipe up for lasagna. But the spaghetti and all the other things that were there were original recipes.

Will

     How much has it grown in terms of employees or customers— like in numbers or business-wise?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Probably as far as employees are concerned we continually have staffed about 16-20 people and that continues throughout the year. And the customers we have— many of our customers have been with us since we opened in 1984. We have some of the same people.

Will

     So yawl have had about the same number of people throughout the years?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Yes, just about. We... have hired maybe 30 or 40 a year. But as far as the employees, we keep all the time, we keep 16-20.

Will

     Have yawl ever thought about or considered franchising Pizza Place?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Oh, probably we did, but we just decided that we thought we were all right just working independent. Actually the Pizza Place, when it was first stared with Col. Eure, before anyone else took it over. Col. Eure sold recipes and whatever to the Mr. Gatti's pizza chain.

Will

     Your pizza recipes, what is your most famous one you sell?

Mrs. Dickerson

     Probably as far as – oh, I would say maybe the spaghetti as far as the recipes are concerned. The submarine sandwiches are really popular and the pizza. But as far as the homemade recipes, the things that we really make form scratch, I think the spaghetti is the most popular.

The End


Will

     When did you star working [at Pizza Place]?

Roger Ammons

     I worked there in ’95 through this past summer – about 5 years.

Will

     5 years?

Mr. Ammons

     Uh-huh

Will

     What job did you do?

Mr. Ammons

     Pretty much every job there as up there.

Will

     Everybody kind of shares the same job?

Mr. Ammons

     Do what now?

Will

     Everybody kind of shares the same job – does the same thing?

Mr. Ammons

     Yeah, right – the way they did it is everybody just kind of learns the positions and everything

Will

     How do you cook the pizzas? What do you do to do that?

Mr. Ammons

     Well, first of all you have to make the dough, and let it rise, and roll it out, and do a cut, then you put the sauce on it and the cheese, and put on the ingredients, and stick it in the oven, for oh, about 7-8 minutes something like that, cut it up and serve it to the customer.

Will

     You have any interesting stories or something interesting that happened there while you worked there?

Mr. Ammons

     Well, all the customers are different, you know, some are real nice to you and then some of them maybe aren’t so nice. It’s just that [that’s]the way everybody [is like] individually.

Will

     Mrs. Dickerson earlier said something about y’all have regular customers come in quite often.

Mr. Ammons

     Uh-huh

Will

     Y'all have quite a few of those then?

Mr. Ammons

     Yeah there is a quite a few, a lot, of college students and then, you know, people that live around Stephenville that have been going up there a long time.

Will

     Since you worked up there, did you eat there a lot or did you get sick of it after a while?

Mr. Ammons

     After a while you do kind of get tired of the same food and everything because there is not all that much variety to it.

Will

     What would you say was the most popular thing yawl sold?

Mr. Ammons

     I would say probably the submarine

Will

     The submarine?

Mr. Ammons

     We sold a lot of those.

The End