THE TAVERN WAS FOUNDED IN VALLEY JUNCTION DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND HAS BEEN IN OPERATION EVER SINCE. PURCHASED IN 1945 BY JOHN AND MARY RILEI – THE BUSINESS WAS OPERATED AS A SMALL TOWN TAVERN – WITH A POOL TABLE, BAR AND A FEW BOOTHS AND TABLES.
The Tavern was founded in Valley Junction during the Great Depression and has been in operation ever since. Purchased in 1945 by John and Mary Rilei - The business was operated as a small town tavern - with a pool table, bar and a few booths and tables.
IN 1950, JOHN AND MARY INTRODUCED THE GRINDER SANDWICH FOR THEIR CUSTOMERS AND A LEGEND WAS BORN. SHORTLY THEREAFTER, THE TAVERN’S FAMOUS THINCRUST PIZZA WAS ADDED TO THE MENU, AND IT TOO BECAME AN INSTANT SUCCESS.
In 1950, John and Mary introduced the grinder sandwich for their customers and a legend was born. Shortly thereafter, The Tavern's famous thin crust pizza was added to the menu, and it too became an instant success.
IN 1988, THE RESTAURANT WAS SOLD TO LONGTIME FRIEND, CHUCK CELSI. KNOWING GREAT RECIPES WHEN HE SAW THEM, CHUCK KEPT MANY OF THE ORIGINAL RECIPES EXACTLY AS MARY MADE THEM, AND EXPANDED THE MENU TO INCLUDE SOME OF THE AUTHENTIC ITALIAN “CALABRESE” FLAVORS AND FOODS OF CHUCK’S HERITAGE. TO ACCOMMODATE CONTINUED DEMAND FOR THE GREAT FOOD, IN 1990, CELSI PURCHASED THE BUILDING NORTH OF THE TAVERN AND DOUBLED THE SIZE OF THE RESTAURANT. IN 1995, THE TAVERN II WAS OPENED ON 50TH STREET IN WEST DES MOINES.
In 1988, the restaurant was sold to longtime friend, Chuck Celsi. Knowing great recipes when he saw them, Chuck kept many of the original recipes exactly as Mary made them, and expanded the menu to include some of the authentic Italian "Calabrese" flavors and foods of Chuck's heritage. To accommodate continued demand for the great food, in 1990, Chuck purchased the building north of The Tavern and doubled the size of the restaurant. In 1995, The Tavern II was opened on 50th street in West Des Moines.
MANY OF THE ITEMS ON THE MENU TODAY ARE ORIGINAL RECIPES MADE FRESH IN THE TAVERN’S OWN KITCHEN. FROM FRESHLY MADE BREAD, TO A PATENTED PIZZA SAUCE, AND THE TAVERN’S OWN ITALIAN SAUSAGE YOU CAN BE SURE THE FOOD YOU ENJOY WAS MADE FROM RECIPES CAREFULLY CONSTRUCTED TO BE THE BEST.
Many of the items on the menu today are original recipes made fresh in The Tavern's own kitchen. From freshly made bread, to a patented pizza sauce, and The Tavern's own Italian sausage you can be sure the food you enjoy was made from recipes carefully constructed to be the best.
WITH CHUCK’S PASSING IN 2015, THE FAMILY TRADITION HAS BEEN CONTINUED BY HIS SIX CHILDREN. PLEASE ACCEPT OUR WELCOME TO THE TAVERN PIZZA AND PASTA GRILL AND ENJOY YOUR DINING EXPERIENCE.
With Chuck's passing in 2015, the family tradition has been continued by his six children. Please accept our welcome to The Tavern Pizza and Pasta Grill and enjoy your dining experience.