DEMOTTE — Every owner remembers their first year in business. For Burns Family Pizzeria their first year will be even more cemented in their minds as they are close to celebrating “Turning 1.”
Teddy and Selena Burns introduced their “old school” style pizza to the DeMotte area with a soft opening on Valentine’s Day 2020. Their Grand Opening and Ribbon cutting ceremony took place Friday, March 13th but the following Monday the state shutdown all the dining rooms due to COVID-19 concerns.
“We were just getting the hang of it with our soft opening,” said Selena.
The shutdown was something that no one expected and Burns Family Pizzeria, like many other businesses, had to adjust.
“We had always planned on doing delivery but the dining room shutdown expedited that plan,” Selena added.
For Teddy, there was only one option and that was to keep moving forward. “I try not to let things bother me and I just kept plugging on. For a while we didn’t have any staff available and it was just us, so we had to shut down delivery for a while.”
While the shutdown is a thing of the past, numerous restrictions are still in place and many businesses couldn’t overcome the challenges.
However, Burns Family Pizzeria has survived and the owners believe it’s because of their simplified menu.
“We are an old school pizzeria,” said Teddy. “We use one sauce, one crust (which is freshly made, never frozen and hand-tossed), and our special cheese blend makes all the difference.”
Because of the top-of-the-line ingredients, Burns Family Pizzeria has quickly become a local favorite. Some of the most popular items include their loaded Italian Beef (especially on Sundays said Teddy), the Burns Bomb Pizza which is their standard deluxe style, and the Kougar Pizza which is their version of a meat lovers. The Gut Buster is also a popular pie of theirs weighing in at 9-10 pounds for the 16 inch. It features every meat and vegetable topping the pizzeria has.
“A newer item that is an ultimate seller is our garlic cheese bread,” added Teddy.
Selena has decades of restaurant experience but it’s her office experience that is her contributing strength. Teddy is the standout cook between the two of them with experience working in a pizzeria in high school. Together they have turned Burns Family Pizzeria into not only a popular dining location but a fun atmosphere for their employees.
“Together we have completely different strengths,” said Selena. “We also have a great staff. We have been fortunate. They are not just our employees, but they are our pizza family. We try to make it a fun place to work.”
Teddy and Selena credit the support from the community for getting them this far during a pandemic.
“We loved that first month we were open because we enjoyed meeting the people that came in here to eat,” said Selena. “We are only open now because of the customer and community support. We were voted the 2020 Jasper County Reader’s Choice award winner for Best Pizza and Best Breadsticks and we are very proud of that.”
Burns Family Pizzeria would like to partner up and even do more with the community. Currently, they are working with the Kankakee Valley Intermediate School on a Reading Incentive Program and are looking to build more relationships with the community.
“We like to run a lot of promotions and we are always putting special events and offers on our Facebook page,” Selena added. “If you are interested in a give-back night or any other community promotions, please email me at email@example.com .”
On March 5th at 9 a.m., Burns Family Pizzeria will be featured on the Adams Radio Group’s Fifty 50 Friday promotion.
The pizzeria started with just pizza, then added garlic cheese bread, and followed up with sandwiches. Teddy is now experimenting with desserts, so don’t be surprised if that is added to the menu sometime in the near future.
“Everyone has different likes when it comes to pizza,” Selena added. “Come and try us for yourself, it is worth the drive.”