Man realizes dream with Pizza Corral
ELGIN - Jessie Janis has transitioned his culinary talents from a yogurt shop to a new pizza endeavor in Elgin and it's already paying dividends.
"We've been extremely busy here," Janis said. "I'm getting probably three times the crowd I was expecting before I opened."
Pizza Corral opened one week ago and word has spread across Elgin that there's no better place to get a handmade pizza. Janis, who once owned Peach Wave Yogurt in Central Mall, said he's always wanted to own his own pizza restaurant. After searching the area for an opportune venue, he settled on a building along U.S. 277 in Elgin in March. Less than six weeks later, he opened his doors and served his first piping hot pizza pies to the community and the customers keep coming back.
"I'm really thankful to the Elgin community for how they've welcomed me here so quickly," Janis said.
The exterior of the restaurant is unassuming, with only a display sign out front to let people know he's open. Janis hopes to have a new sign with his logo hanging above the door relatively soon. Inside, the restaurant smells of the hot pizzas and calzones being cooked in the back. The interior is adorned with old bull riding posters and rodeo decor. Before he became a businessman, Janis spent much of his adult years on the rodeo circuit as a professional bull rider. After retiring from that line of work 15 years ago, he decided to open his own business. His yogurt was always popular, but he still wanted to make pizzas. He finally achieved that dream with Pizza Corral.
"I have that opportunity here and I'm taking advantage of it," Janis said. "Everything here is made fresh to order. We have just about anything you can think of on a pizza."
The menu is relatively simple at the moment. Customers can choose between three sizes of pizza with up to three toppings. Janis offers his own versions of meat lovers and supreme pizza pies. If you'd rather have a calzone, he can stuff one with just about any toppings one can imagine. Janis said he's most proud of his house special calzone stuffed with cheese, Italian sausage and pepperoni and Italian dressing. It comes out of the oven with steam billowing off the crunchy brown crust with cheese and toppings inside that ooze out with each bite.