416 Main St, Mt Vernon, IL 62864
Hours: Tues.-Thurs., Sun. 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Fri-Sat. 11 a.m.- 11 p.m.
Pizza Man has called Mt. Vernon home since 1975, when all Monical’s Pizza restaurants were converted to a new name. Legend has it, every time the previous Monical’s Pizza owner would walk in the American Legion for a drink, towns people would say “Hey! The pizza man’s here!” Following legality issues, Monical’s was forced to legally change their restaurant name, and Pizza Man was born.
In 1989, current owner, Kris Chamness’ parents purchased Pizza Man. Kris took over the restaurant in 2011 and is the sole owner of Pizza Man today.
Over the years, Chamness has experienced generational customers at Pizza Man. Since working for his parents at the age of 12, many customers have seen Kris grow over the years into the owner he is today. The business has had several generational employees, as well, parents who worked at Pizza Man years ago and now have children employed at the same restaurant location. Chamness comments, “It’s a very dedicated customer base. It’s amazing to me how very generational it is. That they’re raised on it, and then their kids start eating it and so on and so forth.”
You can order Pizza Man for your family, business, and even your wedding! Many weddings cater salads and pizza, but one recent couple had a request for a wedding pizza cake. The final product? A 4-tier pepperoni pizza cake completed with a bride and groom topper.
Pizza Man serves a St. Louis-style thin crust pizza with mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Their uniqueness, however, comes in the way they cook the pizza. Pizza Man uses a slate brick oven rather than the traditional conveyer oven to personally cook your pizza. This takes longer but, in the end, gives the pizza a more distinguished flavor. Pizza Man now offers a new cauliflower pizza crust that is keto and gluten friendly.
All specialty pizza recipes were created by Chamness, himself, through a process of brainstorming a concept, creating a recipe, and testing it out on a tasting group. “I like to have my pizza taste different than everyone else’s.” The best-selling specialty pizza is their chicken bacon ranch. Other specialties include taco and buffalo chicken pizza. Pizza Man uses fried chicken on their pizzas versus fajita style chicken many other pizzerias use. The famous “Chammy’s Chicken” can be ordered as a side and is best described as “deep fried chicken breast chunks”. Pizza Man is also known for their secret-recipe, house-made ranch dressing that Chamness’ parents created. The dressing goes on salads, pizza, and is great for dipping their “s’creams”, sour cream and chives potato wedges in. Besides pizza, other popular menu items include oven baked hot sub sandwiches, Italian beef, and fried cheese cubes. Chamness remarks, “If it’s not fried, it’s not good!”
What makes Mt. Vernon a great place to own a business? Chamness remarks, “The community dedication of supporting independent locally owned businesses.” Chamness urges the importance of supporting independently owned restaurants as it is “a direct reflection of money going back in the community”. Getting to cultivate relationships with customers and creating new pizzas has been the most rewarding aspect of owning Pizza Man so far for Chamness.
Looking to the future, Pizza Man hopes to continue to grow and expand its customer base, building on the next generation. If interested in working for Mt. Vernon’s locally owned pizzeria, Pizza Man is always hiring! Visit Mt. Vernon and experience the taste of local specialty thin crust pizza today!