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Cafe Pizzaria serves a historic slice of Bloomington



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Cafe Pizzeria opened in 1953 and sells pizza, stromboli, sandwiches and burgers. The shop is located on Kirkwood Ave.  Rose Bythrow Buy Photos

Cafe Pizzaria has been around for a long time — 64 years to be exact. Its location on 405 E. Kirkwood Ave. puts the business in a bustling spot in downtown Bloomington and right outside of campus. 

The pizza shop has a rich history. It was the first pizzeria in Bloomington and has been owned by the Webb family for three generations. 

Dick Barnes first opened Cafe Pizzaria in 1953, and the business became known for their pizza pies. Larry Webb became a delivery driver in 1962. Barnes eventually sold the business in 1986 to Web, who then shared it with his son, David. David’s son, Crosby Webb, is the current manager. 

"My dad used to own a gas station," David said. "So this was his first experience with the pizza business."

The family-run business started with a small menu, offering only six pizza toppings. The menu has expanded since.

“I think our pizza is very unique from everybody’s in town,” David said. “We also served the first Stromboli sandwiches in Bloomington.” 

Now Cafe Pizzaria sells sandwiches, salads, soups, appetizers and a variety of pizzas with several combinations of toppings. They also have a grill open Monday through Friday until 4 p.m. when they offer hamburgers, chicken and fish. 

David Webb said the family takes pride in their fresh ingredients and made-to-order pizzas. 

“We grind our own cheese and make our own dough and sauce,” David said. “My father and my son and I are the only ones that know the recipe for the sauce.”

Katie Stoker, who's worked at the restaurant for three years, said the fresh menu is only one of the great aspects of Cafe Pizzaria. She said people still come in who were customers in 1953. As a server, Stoker said she gets to know the customers well. 

“Talking to the locals and customers that come here all the time is my favorite part of working here,” she said. 

Stoker knew the Webb family before she started working at the restaurant. She said the family is always busy and very involved with the restaurant. 

“They’re always here to make sure everything is running smoothly,” Stoker said.

Junior Julia Knapp said she thinks it's a great place to go for fresh pizza because of the quality and the setting.

“It’s a casual but welcoming atmosphere," Knapp said. "It’s a great family place."

On big game nights, David said the restaurant tends to have a lot of IU students come in. 

The business works with the delivery services Hoosier Food and Mr. Delivery before 5 p.m. on a daily basis. After that, employees deliver food themselves.

Between Cafe Pizzaria’s busy location and extensive history, the Webb family said they are proud to own the business. 

“This was my dad’s first business venture,” David said. “Now we’re very proud of what we do and to represent our family and our name.”

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