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Cuban of the Month-Bob Johnson
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Bob Johnson - photo by Dena Harris

CUBA CITY— Loving your job comes easy if you own a pizza business and love eating pizza.

Bob Johnson of Benton opened his restaurant, Steve’s Pizza, in Cuba City many years ago and continues to enjoy the business he has built.

“A restaurant is a risky business and they are a lot of work,” Bob said. “They are not a great investment, but if you enjoy it, it can work. I enjoy pizza, so I enjoyed it.”

Bob started in the pizza business as a part-time employee. He loved eating the thin crust pizza at Steve’s Pizza in Platteville.

“I thought if I worked at a pizza place, I could get all the pizza I wanted and I love pizza,” Bob said. He applied to work there and was hired. He said he and the owner, John and I became good friends. When a new store opened in Dodgeville, he was asked to manage it.

“I was riding bike in Cuba City when I first thought this location would be a good pizza place,” Bob said. “I asked if John wanted to look at the place just for the heck of it. He wasn’t really taken by it. I liked that it was close to home. The trouble was I didn’t know anything about business.”

Bob talked with Rich Brown at Mound City Bank and discussed interest rates for a loan to purchase the building and start his own pizza business.

“When he asked what my plan was, I said it was to make pizza and earn a living,” Bob said. “That was my whole plan.”

Mound City Bank helped him create a proper business plan to get a loan for starting his pizza restaurant. Bob said thedocument asked all of the questions he should have asked in the first place.

“Cuba City happens to be a really nice place to do business,” Bob said.

He said the city staff have been great to work with over the years and the police have been very respectful of his business and letting him know of what needed to be done before taking action.

“It seems like they are open to business,” Bob said.

Steve’s Pizza has been helping organizations and individuals with fundraisers for years. Recently, Bob and his crew helps facilitate a fundraiser once a month for local organizations. The organization in need provides labor for washing dishes, waiting on tables, delivering orders, cleaning and taking orders, while the staff at Steve’s Pizza makes the food. Then Steve’s Pizza splits the funds made that night three ways. One-third goes to the Steve’s Pizza staff, one-third to cover the cost of the food sold and one-third to the organization that worked that evening.

“We enjoy meeting the people,” Bob said. “These are our customers, too. They have been great.”

Bob said this style of fundraiser started when a pastor from Africa needed funding for housing at retirement. The church helped to raise $3,000, bringing people who didn’t even know the pastor to donate to the cause.

He said the next group that participated was the Hazel Green Public Library.

Editor’s Note: This column will be a special addition to the Tri-County Press on a monthly basis. Look for each installment near the end of the month. All volunteers are recomended for the article by Mayor Tom Gile. If you have ideas for future volunteers in the community to be recognized, contact Gile at 608-744-3203.