Patrick & Katie McHugh
15th Street Pizza & Pub
- How did you (Katie & Patrick) meet?
We met in August of 1997 at Florida State University through a mutual friend. Katie was a freshman in college and Patrick was in his sophomore year.
- What brought you to Henry County from Florida?
After Patrick graduated from Florida State he got a job with a large hotel chain in Atlanta where he worked for many years and lived with a college roommate that was from Henry County. When it was time for Katie to graduate, Patrick starting looking for houses all over Atlanta, and everything that they were looking for: a county with a great community, good schools, and things to do, kept bringing them back to looking for a house in Henry County.
- What were each of your backgrounds in the restaurant and hospitality industry before owning 15th Street?
We both have always worked in the hospitality field. It’s the only field that has always drawn both of us. Patrick worked in kitchens throughout college and received his Hospitality degree. Katie grew up in the hospitality industry, and also has always worked in restaurants.
- What led each of you into the restaurant business?
We believe that the restaurant business chose us, we both love the fast pace, (or being in the weeds as industry people say), and meeting new people. When the opportunity presented itself for us to have a place of our own, it was a no-brainier. We jumped at the opportunity.
We believe that the restaurant business chose us, we both love the fast pace, (or being in the weeds as industry people say), and meeting new people. When the opportunity presented itself for us to have a place of our own, it was a no-brainier.
- Other than yourselves, is there anyone else from the family that is involved with the business? If so, who and what are their roles?
It truly is a family run business. Patrick’s father, Dennis, believed in us and invested to make sure that the dream of owning our own place came true. For that we will be forever grateful. Dennis is not just an investor he is also the marketing guru, and makes the multiple trips each week to the Atlanta Farmers Market to get all of the produce that we use in the restaurant.
- What are each family member’s role at the restaurant? How do you make that work/family dynamic work?
So yes, working with family is not always easy but we believe that we have divided the departments and responsibilities so that we are not stepping on each other’s toes. Patrick is in charge of the Back of House, he makes sure that the cooks and dishwashers are properly trained and also does A LOT of the computer work. Katie takes care of the Front of House, all the servers, hostess or hosts and customers. Dennis is always thinking of new ways to advertise and always has an eye out for the freshest produce. We set these roles up 13 years ago, and it seems to really work for us.
- What specifically drew you to 15th Street vs. another restaurant?
When we moved to Henry County 15th Street Pizza was where we would go and hang out with our friends. We loved the big porch and really loved the pizza. It was our little local hang out.
- 15th Street is the oldest locally owned pizza place in Henry County, correct? What is its history?
It is, but it has been through a lot of changes on its way to being 15th Street Pizza and Pub. It was originally Bel Castro’s Italian Restaurant and at some point the name was changed to 14th At that point the restaurant was still a traditional Italian restaurant, but it began serving or focusing more on its pizzas. After that it transitioned into 14th Street Pizza and became a take-out only pizza place. When the owner before us took over the business, she changed the name to 15th Street Pizza and remodeled the space to allow for dine-in service. This was around 1995 and she owned the restaurant until we bought in 2004.
- How have you taken 15th Street and changed it from what it was to what it is today?
When we first took over 15th Street we made a decision and added “and Pub” to the name. We have always loved craft beer, and when we moved here [to Henry County], there was not really anywhere in the county that we could go and have a wide selection of craft and import beer. So a big part of our re-branding 15th Street Pizza to 15th Street Pizza & Pub was focusing on getting many new beer brands down to Henry County. In 13 years we have gone from 9 taps to 24 taps, and only having 12 in the bottle now we have anywhere from 40-70 in the bottle. Wine was another area that we try to focus on, it was a white, pink or red type of selection 13 years ago and after working with a wonderful wine sommelier we have come up with a great selection. We love providing our customers with variety and we believe that between the wine and beer selection there is something for everyone.
- What about 15th Street as a brand, company culture and overall atmosphere are you most proud of?
As a company we are proud of how far we have grown, but we know that is because every day we remind ourselves of our company’s Core Values: Family, Honesty, Outstanding Service, and Community.
Family- as a family-owned and operated business, our goal is to create a culture in our restaurant where we all see and treat each other as family.
Honesty- being truthful at all times, even when it is hard, but in doing so an environment of trust and respect is created.
Outstanding Service- we want our staff to give a level of exceptional service so that each customer feels like a part of the family and wants to return time and time again.
Community- this is a major one for us, we believe that it is our responsibility to give back and take care of those that have taken care of us.
We enjoy working and getting to know our customers. Over the years is has been amazing to watch all the kids grow up and the first dates that have turned into marriages. From families choosing to spend special occasions with us and new friendships always forming, it has made those long hard days worth it. We have created an environment where friends are family.
- What do you think makes you unique?
We believe that 15th Street Pizza & Pub is unique for many reasons. Since we both work in the business it is not uncommon for Patrick and/or Katie to be the one serving you a beer. We enjoy working and getting to know our customers. Over the years is has been amazing to watch all the kids grow up and the first dates that have turned into marriages. From families choosing to spend special occasions with us and new friendships always forming, it has made those long hard days worth it. We have created an environment where friends are family. We want to thank everyone over the years for helping make 15th Street Pizza & Pub what it is today. Without every customer and every employee we would not be the longest continually run pizza place in Henry county. Cheers to many more years of making memories!