Downtown Gem - Mabe's Pizza

February 22, 2022

There is no better choice for a downtown gem than a legendary pizza place that has been a local favorite in Decorah, Iowa, for many years.

At the age of 49, Mabel White started in the restaurant business in 1953 with Mabel’s Lunchroom located on College Drive in Decorah. Students from nearby Luther College were regular customers. Mabel often let them make their own sandwiches and change at the register. One fateful day, a student asked if he could make himself a “pizza.” Mabel agreed without knowing what a pizza was or understanding how this would change her life and eventually become an icon of Decorah.

In 1968, Mabel paid tribute to the item that attracted overwhelming attention and renamed her restaurant to "Mabe’s Pizza." Over a short time, Mabe’s Pizza grew a reputation for delicious pizza cut into squares with made-from-scratch crust and sauce paired with sincere customer service. Mabel’s family shared the joy she found in serving the food to others and have carried on this tradition. Mabel’s youngest son, Don White and his late wife Maime took over the restaurant in 1981. Don’s oldest son, Steve White and his wife Connie, have had the business since 1999, and today their son, Collin White, is the general manager.

Mabel passed away in 2002 when she was 97 years young. She left a legacy for how the pizza should be made and how the customers should be treated. Her spirit (and recipe) is honored with each sale of the 115,000 (plus) pizzas served every year!!!

Tired of staying in? Ready to take a road trip to a really cool destination and enjoy some great pizza at an iconic venue? Say no more, set your navigation app to take you to Mabe’s Pizza located at 110 East Water Street in Decorah, Iowa. Tell’em staff from  the Iowa Downtown Resource Center sent you!

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