What started as a take-out-only pizzeria, now has three locations and no slowdown plans.
Jim West opened Jim’s Pizza Box at 5 Main St. in Milan when he was 21.
For the first two years, West couldn’t afford a cash register, so instead he said, with a chuckle, that he used a cigar box instead.
While West said he faced many challenges as a young business owner, throughout each of the trials he kept going.
Within four years, West was pretty sure his hard work and dedication was paying off.
“About three or four years ago it started to blossom,” he said.
It was around this time that West decided to move into a larger building, so he moved to the restaurant’s current location at 10 Main St.
Recipes used by the West have been passed down for generations.
Her late mother, Josephine West, had her culinary masterpieces well documented so they could continue to pass them on to her children and their children, West said.
“My mother was a master at making a meal out of anything,” he said fondly of his mother.
Josephine West was “an artist” in the kitchen with everything from salads, pizzas to classic Italian dishes and more, he said.
“His pea salad was second to none,” West said.
Now West works with his two oldest children, Jim West Jr. and Katie West.
“I raised my children to achieve their dreams,” he said. “This is my dream.
“I’m honored that they want to join me. I feel blessed.”
West’s two youngest children, Michael and Madison, he says, are teenagers and show an interest in joining the family business.
West opened his second restaurant at 819 Main Street in Huron in 1997, which offers the same quaint dining room, menu and flavor of an old-school Italian restaurant.
And, about four years ago, West expanded again, but this time in Vermilion.
This restaurant is located at 4503 Liberty Ave. and imitates the other two stores.
Each restaurant serves alcoholic drinks as well as a variety of pizzas, sandwiches such as burgers and breaded chicken, parmesan cheese, baked ziti and more.
In good Italian tradition, restaurants also serve Italian dessert cannolis.
Each restaurant includes several televisions so that customers can watch sports games while enjoying their meals.
“We’re getting ready for the Browns game tonight,” West said Sept. 22 after packing an order that included 500 pizzas.
At all three restaurants, West has 100 employees and said he’s always looking for more.
“We are always looking to build a stronger team,” he said. “We are always taking applications.”
Earlier this year, celebrity Rachel Ray focused on Jim’s Pizza Box and now has several restaurant favorites.
But, his favorite is the Taco Supreme Pizza, West said.
In March, Rachel Ray featured Jim’s Pizza Box on her popular cooking show.
“I’m very honored to be recognized by someone of this status,” West said.
West said his success was due to a “great following” and community support, to name a few.
To see Jim’s Pizza Box’s full menu, visit https://www.jimspizzabox.com/.