Take your pick at Pop's

Thursday, February 28, 2008
:Cora Lee, owner of Pop's Pizza prepared a supreme pizza Tuesday. As long as they have the ingredients, Pop's will make any pizza a customer requests. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

Make a few lunch-time trips to Pop's Pizza on Clark Avenue and before you know it, you're one of the gang.

Doyle and Cora Lee Sample own the place, which serves an all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffet seven days a week.

"I pretty much run it," Cora Lee Sample said. "He's actually Pop," she added, pointing to her husband. He was sitting in the dining room laughing with a few employees, one of whom was Dana Wilson, a family friend and employee.

"This place is just like home to people. They just keep coming back," Wilson said.

Pop's Pizza will make any pizza the customer asks for. They groan about certain off-the-wall pies, but have made shrimp pizza, a BLT pizza, a cheeseless pizza and even a plain cheese pizza with chocolate on it.

Cora Lee lays a layer of pepperoni on a pizza at Pop's Pizza on Tuesday, February 26, 2008. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

Sample sold the place in the late 1990s to retire, but ended up taking it back in 2003 to run it again after business turned downhill.

"I couldn't stand to just close it," she said.

"I've loved food service ever since I was in high school," Sample said. She worked in her school cafeteria as a teenager.

"And my customers are very important to me. After a while, they become your friends."

She has gotten back many of her old regulars and a few new ones.

"You know what kind of pizza they want, and I just start making it when they walk in the door," she said.

Their daughter Patti Poole is the main cook and manager. Her daughter, Kirsten, 10, helps out, too. She and a cousin are on the Pop's Pizza commercials.

"Ya gotta say it right," she said to one employee who started to recite the slogan Kirsten says on the commercials. She's slows down and goes through the speech, "When you think pizza, think Pop's, cuz Pop's is tops."

Pop's specializes in a thin and crispy pizza and they make all the sauce from scratch.

You might wonder what's in it. Be prepared for disappointment.

"We don't tell," Sample said.

They also keep the secret on their crock pot side dishes like the homemade chili they serve twice a week and the chicken noodles they put out on Thursdays. They rotate the dishes over five days of the week.

"It seems to be a good draw," Sample said. "We have people who come in just for those days."



Salad bar

Pizza -- anything you want. If they have the ingredients, you'll get the pizza.

Crock Pot Specials

Homemade Chili -- Monday and Friday

Kraut and Polish Sausage -- Tuesday

Beans and cornbread -- Wednesday

Chicken noodles -- Thursday


Ooey Gooey Cinnamon pizza

Chocolate Chip pizza

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