Forty-six years after it began, the Pizza King business has been even busier since it moved from its original location to its new one in the former Clason Buick GMC showroom at 2915 East Ave. S., owner Terry Mach says.
In 2013, the Clason auto dealership moved next door to the former Ray Hutson Chevrolet building, where it remains in business.
Pizza King first opened in December 1975 at 2929 South Ave. on the South Side of La Crosse. Mach began working there in March 1976 and he bought the business in 1978.
Mach had to move his business because its original building will be razed to make way for one of three traffic roundabouts that will be part of this year’s South Avenue reconstruction project.
Pizza King opened Dec. 2 in its new location, with the same menu, telephone number and hours as it had before. It sells pizzas, submarine sandwiches, wrap sandwiches, gyros, appetizers and salads.
“Eventually we will have limited inside seating (something Pizza King didn’t have its previous location), but we will still primarily be a carry-out restaurant,” Mach said. “We are still waiting for tables and chairs. They are back-ordered from the supplier, and I don’t know when they will be in. Total seating capacity will be 26 once they arrive.”
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Mach said he is grateful for the help that Brickl Brothers (the general contractor for the new location’s remodeling) provided with the layout and design of Pizza King’s new location, and for the work that La Crosse Sign Co. did.
Mach said he also is grateful for his staff, many of which have worked at Pizza King for many years. “I couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.
“Improvements at the new location are better (traffic) access for customers, and much more space for us to work in,” Mach said.
“We have been busy all through COVID, but since moving to the new location even busier than ever before, which has been challenging to handle,” Mach said. “We definitely need some more part-time people” to join Pizza King’s roster of employees.
Pizza King has 17 employees, including Mach; his brother, Steve Mach; and Terry’s sons, Allan, Ray and Ken Mach. “We could use another four part-time people at this point,” Mach said.
“Business has been better than ever before since many people are doing more carry-out instead of dine-in,” Mach said. “We truly appreciate each and every one of our loyal customers.”
Pizza accounts for about three-fourths of Pizza King’s total sales, Mach estimated. Baked pizzas account for about 60 percent of sales, and unbaked pizzas account for the other 40 percent, he said.
Sausage and pepperoni is Pizza King’s biggest-selling pizza variety. Its most popular specialty pizza is the King Special, made with Italian sausage or beef, pepperoni, onions, green peppers, green or black olives, fresh or canned mushrooms and mozzarella cheese.
Some of Pizza King’s most popular sandwiches are the traditional gyros; the ham, turkey, bacon and Swiss sub; and the Italian sub made with salami, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.
“I feel that people have been supportive of Pizza King all these years because we have always tried to be consistent and provide the best possible food for a reasonable price,” Mach said. “And I purposely stay away from trends and just offer the same quality products using the same recipes year after year.”
Most Pizza King customers live or work on the city’s South Side. “However, we really serve the greater La Crosse area, with people coming from Minnesota, Iowa and small towns all around the city,” Mach said. “I attribute this to us offering our unbaked pizza option.”
In Photos: Rotary Lights 2021