Local pizza offers taste of New York

Alexander Furman

“We don’t pretend to be something we’re not,” are the resonating words from Ish Dika, son of the owner of Joe’s Pizza and Pasta in west Ames.

Joe’s Pizza opened its doors mid-October 2012, and since then, business has been booming. Their claim to fame are their authentic dishes which owner Ristem “Joe” Dika states tastes the same as anything coming from New York.

“It’s authentic as it gets. If you go to New York and you find a little mom and pop [store] … it tastes like our pizza tastes. I don’t think you can get that anywhere around here,” stated the Dika family.

All the dishes are made entirely from scratch: from dough to marinara sauce to the bread delivered with your meal.

The whole clan believes family comes first. Joe has moved from New York to Texas and finally to Iowa, supporting his children’s choice to attend Iowa State

One of Dika’s sons, Shaban, is an offensive lineman for the Cyclones. While Shaban is busy with academics and football, the rest of the chldren are busy tending to the restaurant as well as being as full-time students.

Joe said his two main reasons for starting his pizza joint in Ames were  his age – he did not want to work the long hours he used to – and wanting to spend more time with his children.

“The traveling got to me mostly,” Dika stated. “I’ve always wanted to make a place in Ames because I used to have places all over Iowa.”

Dika said starting his takeout pizza joint in Ames wasn’t too difficult. This is his fourth restaurant in Iowa, and he also has places in Texas and New York.

“We’ve actually had a lot of support with people that come in and try us before. Word of mouth has been good for us, we can’t complain too much,” said Dika.

“The most difficult thing is the price for us. We have to buy things like fresh mozzarella.  In the last couple years the price of produce has gone up, and we can’t really change the prices of our pizzas.”

Even with the challenges of small businesses, the family was confident they would expand, but was wary of being too busy. They believe there is such a thing as “too much business.”

Ish Dika said that as business grows, the entree and especially the dessert menu will expand as well. Dika explained the items shown on their menu right now aren’t all the family is skilled at making.