I went to college in a small Iowa town called Lamoni (pronounced LUH-MOAN-EYE).
In that town are maybe 6 places to eat, but everyone in the town knows of the Pizza Shack.
Named the Best Pizza in Iowa (in 1981), the Shack, as it is affectionately known has been owned and run by the same family, the Hamptons, for a few decades now. The Shack was there when my parents were at Graceland in the late ’60s and it is still there now, ten years after I graduated.
I worked there during my freshman, sophomore and junior years at Graceland and during those lunch shifts, I met and got to know the woman who would become my wife. I was a cook and she worked the front of the house. We got to spend a lot of time laughing and talking as we would get ready for lunch service.
I lived next door to the Shack for a year too. That was the year that Alli and I started dating. Coincidence? Probably. I remember how I used to come back from work smelling of pizza. I never tired of that smell of dough and sauce and pepperoni. The old oven, the linoleum floor, the stop light and jukebox and the old decorations all are a part of the wonderful experience and make the memory all that much richer.
If you’re ever on I-35, headed from Kansas City through Des Moines, be sure to stop in Lamoni. Just watch out for the Amish people.