PaPPo's Pizzeria and Pub was born out of several serendipitous events...some occurring over time...and some more recent, culminating into a new experience for Pizza Connoisseur's and Craft Beer lover's wherever there is a PaPPo's Pizzeria and Pub.
With many years of pizza experience, a curiosity and a desire to produce exceptional food, "PaPPo" Chris Galloway has been developing recipes and ways of cooking for many years. PaPPo came from an Italian family. HIs mother Joan was born into the Sant'Antonio family (later changed to Santantonio) to Italian parents, PaPPo's grandparents, Fred and Antoinette (Babe) Santantonio. In 1903, Fred came over on the boat, as they say, with his parents and 2 brothers, from Italy. Fred's father was a custom Tailor who made fine riding britches for wealthy American's in what was at the time a booming town...Cleveland, Ohio. The Sant'Antonio's changed their name to Santantonio and lived on the East side of Cleveland. Fred Santantonio married Babe in 1933 and in 1950, after WWII, they ended up in Brooklyn, Ohio a suburb of Cleveland. The Santantonios were always cooking and talking about food. They we're known for putting on the Annual Spaghetti Dinner for 800 people at St Thomas Moore Church. Babe actually was, at that time, kind of a cooking star as she had several of her recipes published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer and reportedly made a cameo appearance on a local TV show. Joan or "Joanie" as they called her was their first child. Joan's brother, Rocky Santantonio, recalls the family's desire to get into the "pizza business." According to Rocky, "One interesting point is that my Dad put a rent down payment on a store for a pizza shop after they did so well selling pizza at the St. Thomas Moore Church Bazar. That evening we were in the pizza business but because my Dad hadn 't slept a wink worrying about the rent money, he got up the next morning and went and got a refund. So, we were out of the pizza business just as fast as we got in."
Joan married Richard Galloway and they had a large family of 10 children of which PaPPo was the oldest and probably got in the most trouble. They settled in Lakewood, Ohio a suburb on the west side of Cleveland. Every Sunday after church PaPPo's mother would put on an Italian feast for her family. PaPPo also spent a lot of time at his Grandparent's, Fred and Babe's home where he learned about his Italian heritage and especially about the food. His introduction to pizza was at his Grandparent's with a recipe that garnered Babe first place in a recipe contest and publication in a Cleveland Plain Dealer. The pizza had a crispy bottom, was light and airy and yet full of flavor. According to PaPPo, "There were no "pizza cutters." A pair of scissors was used to cut the pizza into slices." Another member of the family was famous for her cooking, Aunt Rita. Aunt Rita was revered for her "sauce." There was no better. There was always a big pot of sauce on the stove on Sunday and holidays at any of the houses in the family and sometimes there would be huge get together of the all of the families at Aunt Rita's and Uncle Tony's house because they had a finished basement which had a table that took up the entire space which seated 30 people. These were loud events with lots of food and wine where there would be arguments about "how a toilet flushed" or "whether a fight was rigged" and would usually end with the men falling asleep on Sunday afternoon after dinner sitting up in chairs while the women talked among themselves. The children ran around outside getting rid of all the energy that comes from eating so much "spaghetti." In high school, PaPPo would take some of his buddies over to his Grandfather's house to experience the Italian culinary feast for themselves. On one such occasion, at the end of one of his Grandfather's feasts, one of his best friends had eaten so much that he suddenly bolted from the table outside the house and jumped in his convertible and took off down the street just to get some "air" while Christopher and his Grandparents laughed. PaPPo says, "Yes...the food was just that good that you ate as much as you possibly could till you would bust."
What started with PaPPo's Italian relatives, his mother Joan became the torch that passed on an Italian culture and tradition of family and food to her family. Joan was famous for putting on a full meal complete with candlelight every night for two adults and ten children and usually a boyfriend or girlfriend or two. On Sunday afternoon, right after church it was spaghetti and meatballs, fresh baked bread, and a little taste of wine. PaPPo's father Richard would say the same thing that Uncle Saragi on Sunday afternoon....."trow em in Joan." Those same meatballs are served at PaPPo's today. Joan had a big influence on PaPPo and the way he approaches food. Subtle flavors, natural, fresh, without a ton of extra added ingredients. This is the way the Italians do it. She could whip up and amazing meal in a matter of a half hour that was incredible using fresh ingredients. PaPPo's father, Richard, was also influential in his love for good food and he was a bread baker. He taught PaPPo how to roll out fresh made from scratch bread. This freshed baked bread is served at PaPPo's today and is used for the garlic cheese bread and the sandwiches.
How it Started
Fast forward...after owning pizza franchises and other restaurant concepts, PaPPo became disillusioned with the products and the way the products were being made. It was all about convenience for the operator and cutting costs to produce a cheaper and faster product. Realizing the need and desire for a higher quality pizza, he decided it was time to get back into the pizza business with a concept that served handcrafted pizza with only the finest and the freshest ingredients much like his Italian family had done for decades. Chris was searching for locations and was urged by stepdaughter Briana Mathews and friend Jonathan Swisher (now Operating Partners at the Springfield location) to open the first store in downtown Springfield, Mo. PaPPo found a location at 221 East Walnut in downtown Springfield complete with brick walls and a high ceiling and a big bar than ran through almost half the space. And yet there was still no name for the concept.
Out of the mouth of "Babes"
Christopher and his wife Melissa had visited son Jamie, his wife Emily and their 3 year old Granddaughter, Moriah. Without any encouragement Moriah began calling him "Pappo". While struggling to find a good name for the new pizza concept, and after throwing out almost every name they came up with, Melissa said "what if we called it PaPPo's?" They looked up the meaning in Italian and it means "to prepare carefully, gobble up, eat." Thus was born the name...PaPPo's Pizzeria.
The PaPPo's in Springfield opened with success. PaPPo's son Warren Galloway has joined the team and helped open a 2nd store, located in Osage Beach, Mo. The Osage Beach location has been a huge success and is getting rave reviews and wide acclaim from locals and visitors alike, not only for the handcrafted pizza, but also the 32 Craft Beers on tap....thus adding the Pub to "PaPPo's Pizzeria and Pub" and taking advantage of the huge trend toward "Craft Beers." PaPPo's has continued and will continue to add exciting new things to the menu very carefully as to not upset the balance of quality and service. With Christopher's experience and Warren's energy and together their leadership, PaPPo's is currently looking for expansion opportunities in the Midwest.