They pride themselves on using fine ingredients - “We tell suppliers we’ll try the product, then talk price if it measures up,” says Scott Shadden.
The same, popular sauce recipe and re-known thin-crust has been offered since they bought Zeno’s in Toledo. “We use taco meat exclusively prepared for us and only use 100 percent real Wisconsin mozzarella cheese,” Scott says.
Zeno’s will become ‘Mike’s Pizza’ this summer.
And “Mike” Shadden’s son, Scott, 40, will continue to join with his mother in providing the famed pizza and tacos at the same location they have since 1977. Back then, Roger and “Mike” Shadden purchased Zeno’s from Bonnie Crabtree.
They kept the well-recognized Zeno’s name - an institution on the Marshalltown pizza scene for more than 50 years. Recently, Marshalltown Zeno’s owner Terry Kluck told “Mike” and Scott Shadden he was cutting back on commitments and no longer wanted to continue with the Toledo franchise arrangement. “Mike” said Kluck has been understanding and easy to work with as they make the transition.
Despite some resistance from his mother, Scott Shadden said the 12 employees of Zeno’s convinced her to allow using her name for the upcoming business name change.
Scott, 40, who grew up in the business, has been devoting full-time to the operation since “Mike” was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. She is currently undergoing a second set of chemotherapy treatments at Rochester, Minn. Roger Shadden passed away in 2007.
Scott worked for 14 years at Lennox industries, Marshalltown, before initially taking family leave to help with the business in 2008. He is a 1988 graduate of South Tama High School and attended Marshalltown Community college for two years.
During their 33 years operating Zeno’s the Shaddens doubled the seating size of the restaurant to 60. Although not offered initially, delivery has been a staple service for many years.
The Shaddens credit their employees as the core of their ongoing business success. “You couldn’t ask for a better staff,” said “Mike” Shadden. Combined the employees have worked for Zeno’s in Toledo a total of 84 years.
Being in the same location all this time, the Shaddens have watched as the business area along the U.S. 30 strip has changed dramatically. The construction of two new convenience stores replacing existing ones has been most recent. Scott Shadden said they marveled when Casey’s General Store tore down the former Horizon Truck Stop across the street to make way for a new Casey’s. Underneath the Horizon exterior was the original brick and service station overhead doors of Mac and Ross Skelly, the original truck stop at the location which was built in the late 1950s.
Next up is the coming relocation of U.S. 30 to an expressway route south of Zeno’s location. The Shaddens said they rely upon on local business and while knowing the change in traffic flow will have an effect, they hope it will not be great.
That same local support is not only appreciated in the long-running business, but also as “Mike” Shadden continues to battle cancer. She said last week the “prayers and thoughts of customers, family and our employees” has been both very much appreciated and important.
ZENO’s STAFF- (left to right) Mary Blocker, Lisa Niedermann, Jenny Brown, Amber Kroeger, Chad Brown, Carol O’Conner, Scott Shadden, “Mike” Shadden, Laura Wall, Sam Peska, Kellee Klostermann and Stacie Hauser. Chronicle/John Speer