Quatro's Deep Pan Pizza had its start in 1975 after four guys from Chicago (Uno, Dos, Tres …get it?) opened a pizza joint in an old doughnut bakery. The four guys knew they had a hit on their hands right after opening, but lacking backgrounds in food service and business management, they found themselves going bankrupt within a year.
Enter Steve Payne, an eager 21-year-old college student, who had cut his teeth at the Golden Bear Pancake House. He bought Quatro's in early 1976, but in honor of the original owners he kept the name. Steve had a passion for restaurant management and soon set about turning his new venture into a success.
The first thing Steve did was renovate the interior. At the time the pizzas were still being baked in the same ovens used by the doughnut shop. An old icebox served as a beer cooler. The restaurant did not even have bathrooms! For the convenience of his customers, Steve bought space next door and doubled the size of the dining area.
During his first year in business, Steve found that his flow of clientele depended on when nearby Southern Illinois University was in session. When classes let out for summer break, business dried up.
Fortunately for him, it was 1976, and a large group of Americans was celebrating the Bicentennial by bicycling across the country. Since Carbondale was a designated rest stop, Quatro's soon welcomed a steady influx of customers. That summer over 2000 hungry and thirsty cyclists from all over the country came in for pizza and beer.
Many of these enthusiasts returned home to tell family and friends about the great pizza they had eaten in Southern Illinois. By the time classes began in the fall, Quatro's was on its way to becoming an established fixture in Carbondale.
More than 40 years later, Steve now serves pizza to the college-aged kids of his original customers!