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Bob’s Pizza changing hands

By Staff | Jul 29, 2010

Shil Patel, owner of Rugby’s Northern Lights Inn is in the process of purchasing Bob’s Pizza Inn from long-time owner Bob and Ioane Schmidt.

The restaurant and lounge housed in the same complex as the motel will change hands on Aug. 31.

The Schmidts have owned and operated Bob’s Pizza Inn for nearly 18 years and have been fixture in the food service business in the community. They also owned the Rugby Dairy Queen for 25 years before selling it to another local resident about two years ago.

Bob and Ioane began Bob’s Pizza in 1978 in the current Pizza Hut location. Eventually, they sold the building to the national franchise chain and opened Bob’s Pizza in Devils Lake. They returned to Rugby and opened next to the motel.

The restaurant’s staples have been pizza and fried chicken. Over the years the business also catered large events, including wedding receptions and banquets in their meeting rooms.

Schmidt said all scheduled functions will continue for the next month, including the Wednesday night and Sunday and Monday noon buffet. Customers who have gift certificates are asked to use them prior to the ownership transfer.

He added the new owner will honor all current reservations. Shil Patel will wait until after the sale is official before announcing any changes.

Schmidt did say current manager Gwen Kleespie will be not be staying on after the sale. She has been employed by Schmidt for many years, including serving as long-time manager at the Dairy Queen.

Bob, who grew up in the Kramer area, has not yet determined his future plans. He’s spent over 40 years in the restaurant business, but said he will be pursuing less stressful work. Ioane, who grew up in the Newburg area, helped run the business for many years as well as serving as county superintendent of schools in Pierce and McHenry counties. For the past 10 years she has been school superintendent in White Shield.

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