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Visit Beloit Blog | January 20, 2018

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Tilley's Pizza . . . Now That's A Gooda Pizza! -

Tilley’s Pizza . . . Now That’s A Gooda Pizza!

From simple flatbread to pizza night

The word “pizza” was first mentioned in history back in the Italian town of Gaeta around 997 A.D.  Before pizza was (more than likely) focaccia, a flat bread.  Apparently, in Gaeta around that period, tenants of certain property were known to give the bishop of that town twelve pizzas every Christmas Day and another dozen or so at Easter.

In the 16th century, flatbread was referred to as a “pizza” and it was known as the “food of the poor.”  Later, in 1843, Alexandre Dumas articulated that pizza toppings could be very diverse, indeed, and could be topped with all kinds of delicacies!  From there pizza became a type of bread and tomato dish served mainly with cheese.

Pizza came to the United States by way of the Italian immigrants in the late 19th century and was very much enjoyed among the Italian population, especially in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Saint Louis.


Pizza’s popularity explodes

But the real breakthrough for pizza in the U.S. came after World War II, when soldiers stationed in Italy, sick and tired of their typical C-Rations, discovered the local “pizzerias.”  They brought their love of pizza back home when the war was over. Then we had Chicago-style deep pan pizza popping up in 1943.

And when do I, as a product of the 50’s, remember my first experience with pizza?  Easy.  It was Tilley’s Pizza in Beloit, Wisconsin!  If memory serves, we called it “pizza pie” back then.  Tilley’s is family owned and operated since 1955!  And they’ve pretty much been in the same location all those years.  They are still located at the corner of Fourth Street and Portland Avenue, Beloit, Wisconsin, albeit in newly expanded quarters!


Tilley’s Pizza: A family favorite from the beginning

The first pizza from Tilley’s that I ever tasted was delivered to our family home on the west side of Beloit.  It was not carried in the heavy, insulated, red carrier of today.  No, not then.  The pizza delivery man brought it piping hot, from the oven, in just a paper “sleeve” and it was as though we had just popped it out of our family oven at home.  Tilley’s used to put golf tees (new ones!) in the pizza so the paper wouldn’t stick to the pizza!  Delicious!  From that day forward, pizza became a family favorite in my household, and remains so to this day.


And we still love that pizza pie today

Saturday night, we went with our dear friends to Tilley’s Pizza.  Of course, there’s now ample seating and still the line was out the door!  We enjoyed an adult beverage, and  . . . of course . . . a Tilley’s pizza!  And guess what:  they taste just the same as they did 50 years ago!

So while the big pizza chains and franchises grow and prosper, here’s the wonderful little secret:  If you want an old-fashioned, delicious pizza that brings back memories of an easier, more delicious period of time, well, then go to Tilley’s Pizza in Beloit.  I promise you, you will not regret it.




My name is Kay and I am a lifelong Beloiter. I was born here, went through the Beloit School District, went away to college and returned to the city I love. I married a Beloit man, Tom, and we raised two great children here. What a wonderful place to live, grow, and retire! We love Beloit!