Food & Drink

New Joe’s Pizza & Pasta restaurant in Collinsville is sixth metro-east location

Judy and Vernon Trampe are thrilled that Joe’s Pizza & Pasta has opened in Collinsville.

The Collinsville couple and their daughter, Laurie Luna, of Caseyville, used to drive two or three times a month to the Troy location of the small Illinois restaurant chain.

“Everything’s good,” said Judy, 75, a retiree whose husband owns Jones Typewriter in St. Louis. “I’m Italian. I usually get the ravioli or tortellini. I like the salad. I like the red sauce. I like it all.”

This week, the Trampes were dining with friends at the Collinsville Joe’s, which opened July 30 in a double storefront at the end of a strip mall on Belt Line Road, across from Walmart Neighborhood Market.

The franchisees are David and Sara McMahan, of Troy, who also own the Troy restaurant.

Joe Trupiano opened the first Joe’s Pizza & Pasta in 1972 in Olney, but it didn’t become a chain until the family expanded 27 years later with a second restaurant in Effingham. It’s still operated by Joe’s two sons. There are 17 locations, including Godfrey, Edwardsville, Troy, Collinsville, Fairview Heights, Columbia and Chester.

“David knows the Trupianos,” said Sara, 42, who also works as executive director of Eden Village retirement community in Glen Carbon. “He grew up in Effingham. ... He actually worked in the Effingham store when he was a teenager.”

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A new Joe’s Pizza & Pasta restaurant has opened in a strip mall on Belt Line Road in Collinsville, across from Walmart Neighborhood Market. Teri Maddox

Joe’s serves pizza, pasta, sub sandwiches, salads and appetizers. Pizza-crust choices include hand-tossed, thick, Chicago-style and stuffed. Employees make the sauce — which falls on the sweet side — and dough in house.

“The stuffed pizza is like a pie,” Sara said. “It has two layers of dough that close the toppings inside, and the sauce is on the top.”

Joe’s in Collinsville also has a bar with beer, wine and mixed drinks.

“We have eight craft beers on tap, and they’ll change frequently,” said David, 38. “We’re the type of place that will probably always have Cardinals and Blues games on. We do delivery, catering, dine in, carry out, and we’re family- and kid-friendly.”

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Joe’s Pizza & Pasta restaurants offer four types of pizza crust: hand-tossed, thick, Chicago-style and stuffed. A new location opened July 30 in Collinsville. Teri Maddox

David earned a kinesiology degree in college, then worked in marketing with Rosewood Care Centers. He and his brother, Cory McMahan, became partners at the Joe’s restaurant in Edwardsville in 2010. Two years later, David left his marketing career to open the Troy location.

Today, Cory owns the Godfrey and Edwardsville restaurants. David splits his time between Collinsville and Troy.

“Over the years, things have gotten a lot more flexible,” he said. “I have managers who can take care of things if I need to go to one of the kids’ games. I work a lot of nights and weekends, but if I want to take a weekend off, I can. We have a great staff.”

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Brady Arbogast, 19, throws pizza dough at Joe’s Pizza & Pasta in Collinsville. Brady is the son of franchise owners David and Sara McMahan. Teri Maddox

Joe’s is a family affair for the McMahans. David and Sara have four children: Brady Arbogast, 19, Drew Arbogast, 17, Kyle McMahan, 8, and Eric McMahan, 6. Brady works in the Collinsville location, and Drew works in Troy.

The Collinsville storefronts used to house a dental practice and H&R Block office. The McMahans spent nearly seven months gutting, combining and renovating them.

“All the woodwork is handmade, including the bar,” Sara said.

Teri Maddox has been a reporter for 35 years, joining the Belleville News-Democrat in 1990. She also teaches journalism at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. She holds degrees from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and University of Wisconsin-Madison.