This is a neat article (Jamestown Post-Journal) on the opening of one Amish family’s new pizza place, the aptly-named “Family Night Pizza”.
On first glance, the article title itself is eye-catching, for more reasons than one: “Amish Owned Pizza Business Has Opened In Panama”.
That would be Panama, New York – not the Central American nation. But the pizza part is just what you would think it is.
Amish-owned restaurants are not that common, at least the free-standing ones. Plenty of Amish people do sell prepared foods at Pennsylvania Dutch markets. Sandwich stands and the like are common.
And despite what some might think about Amish diets, pizza as a dish is as popular among Amish as it is among other Americans. I just recently enjoyed a creatively-topped homemade batch while in Pennsylvania. Amish people in some communities sell frozen pizzas door-to-door as fundraisers.
So the name of this business and reasons for opening it coalesce around one of the most important themes when it comes to the Amish: family. Dorothy Miller, who owns it with her family, explains:
Miller said the name Family Night Pizza came from her family having their own family night once a week.
“We have family night for our kids once a week and it has made such a huge difference in our family’s closeness,” Miller said. “It teaches our kids to speak their own minds. Each week, we have a topic and the kids get a chance to speak up. It’s made a huge difference for us. The ability to pray together and bless each other is huge for us. I don’t know who first suggested the name for our shop, but when it was suggested it was unanimous.”
Additionally, Miller said they decided to open a pizza place because the entire family loves pizza and they wanted a business where all of the children could be involved.
At one time in their history, getting all the children involved in the family livelihood was done basically in one venue: the family farm.
Now, many different work environs provide that opportunity for Amish children, including home workshops, market stands, and produce operations.
So besides this place, I have only heard of a handful of free-standing Amish-owned restaurants. Not so long ago, I enjoyed pizza from a shop in Holmes County, Ohio. But that one wasn’t Amish-owned, as far as I could tell.
Though, they certainly had Amish customers, sitting smack-dab as they do in the middle of Charm, a heavily-Amish area of the county. Here’s the pizza-eye view of Charm Pizza. A group of Amish ladies had just come in for lunch:
A lot of the Amish-style restaurants that you see in Amish areas are not in fact Amish-owned, but might be owned by Mennonites or people with Amish heritage (or none of the above). I am happy to hear of other Amish-owned examples that you might know of.
For those who might think that life as an Amish person is all hunky-dory, all the time, Dorothy Miller addresses that: “We work and fight for this family and to keep our moral values and be open and honest with each other. Sometimes it is work to simply like each other. But, with the grace of God we will always keep working on it and work to draw us together.”
Along those lines, Family Night Pizza has a piece of flower artwork hanging on its walls. It states simply: “Family: we might not have it all together, but together we have it all.”