by Karen Mead-Elford, staff writer
VAL’S PIZZA OWNER, Dan Matthies, is pleased with his spacious new kitchen at 620 S. Washington St., Owosso. Desaray Mishler, a manager, has been an employee at the family owned restaurant for a number of years. Matthies strongly believes in treating employees respectfully. (Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
“I’ve never counted the pepperoni on a pizza,” stated Dan Matthies, owner of Val’s Pizza in Owosso. “To this day, that’s just something we don’t do.” Matthies was discussing what it is that separates his pizza business from the typical, chain store pizzeria. Many area people are familiar with the history of Val’s Pizza, a family run and community-oriented business that has roots dating back to 1969. In actuality, Dan’s father, Bill Matthies, is the founder of the restaurant, and it is his recipes that have survived to this day, with Dan carrying on the tradition by maintaining the quality his father started. “It’s all the same,” Matthies referenced the original recipes he now uses. “Everything is the same.”
Seven years ago, Dan Matthies restarted Val’s Pizza at Capitol Bowl on Washington St., Owosso. As of Thursday, Oct. 7, Val’s Pizza has now relocated and is open for business on S. Washington St., just a nod from where it was previously located. The reason? Outside business has increased to the point where Matthies needed a larger kitchen to keep up with demand. This is a decidedly good problem for a restaurant owner to have. In Matthies case, he only needed to look slightly south for a solution since the vacant Steve’s/Marco’s Pizza building was available. The new place he snatched up is on an equally busy stretch of Washington St., but now slightly nearer to Baker College.
Matthies, assisted by dedicated family and staff, has tasked a fresh remodel of the new location and everything appears crisp, clean, and updated. His new, larger kitchen is well lit with organized prep spaces for his employees.
For those that might not realize it, Val’s Pizza has an extensive menu that goes far beyond pizza and related items. A large selection of sandwiches, burgers, submarines, and appetizers are available. Fried mini tacos, fried mini corn dogs, and broccoli bites are just a few items listed among the appetizers. Mexican foods and salads are also offered. A lunch special menu is available Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with free delivery on all orders over $10.
“About 95 percent of our business is pick-up and delivery,” Matthies said, though the latest Val’s location includes a small dining area with a couple of tables for seating. “We have seven employees. My wife, Esther, works with me along with my daughter, Kendra, and son, Scott.” A number of his employees have been with him for a long time, and Matthies is a firm believer in treating “your employees right.”
Averaging an incredibly arduous workweek, Matthies starts his day off around 7 a.m. with making pizza dough, sauce, and going over supplies. His day often goes until 11 p.m.
“I don’t want to get really big,” he talked about the future. “I like being able to talk to my customers and know who they are.” Matthies is a fan of maintaining a friendly, neighborly rapport with his clients. “If there is an issue, you just take care of it.”
He is especially grateful to Glenn and his mother Cathy Spencer for their continued support.