Elburn gets its ‘GED’
ELBURN—Elburn’s newest pizza place, GED Pizza, located at 151 E. Route 38, was born when Guillermo Mendez saw that Genoa Pizza’s location was up for sale.
Guillermo, who was working on the construction crew building Brianna’s Pancake Cafe in Elburn, had worked as a chef in a pizza restaurant before. His father, David Mendez, had been working in the restaurant industry since 1986.
And that for sale sign was an opportunity they just couldn’t resist—the opportunity to stop working for other people and go into business for themselves.
So Guillermo and David pooled their money and became business partners. They scrapped the old Genoa Pizza menu and started from scratch, opening GED Pizza in May.
“We were not really looking to open a restaurant, but we saw the chance,” Guillermo said. “We’d been working for someone else all the time, and we wanted to take our chances to see if we could do something for us and our families. We saw a chance in this unit, in this location. So far, I’m very happy that we’re here. There’s very good people around here.”
The name stands for Guillermo and David, and “the E is just in the middle because we needed something in the middle,” Guillermo said.
GED offers four types of pizzas—thin crust, double dough, pan and stuffed crust—and is using a recipe that Guillermo developed himself. Though the recipe is secret, the Mendez family makes its own dough and sauce every day.
The menu also now includes calzones and several new sandwiches, including a Cajun-spiced chicken sandwich; a chicken, bacon and cheese sandwich; and Philly cheesesteak. Pasta, burgers, hot dogs, Italian beef, nachos, salads and appetizers round out the new menu.
So far, customer reviews have been positive. Elburn resident Felicia Steik, a senior at Kaneland High School, works at the nearby McDonald’s and sometimes walks over to GED Pizza after work for the $3 slice-and-soda deal.
“Every time I go in, I have a very positive experience. I love the pizza. The crust is delicious,” Steik said. “I definitely like GED’s pizza a lot more than (the) Genoa’s pizza that it took (the) place of. The pizza has much more flavor, and the prices are great.”
Since the restaurant business can be risky, for now Guillermo continues to work construction jobs during the day and then works at the restaurant every night. David runs the restaurant during the day, along with Guillermo’s younger brother.
Guillermo said opening the restaurant has brought his family closer together.
“Honestly, I never thought that I was ever going to be working with my father,” Guillermo said. “I never thought that we would be together for this much time. That’s one of the points that I really like about it.”
GED Pizza is open Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Orders can be placed at (630) 365-2200.
Photo by Kimberly Anderson