Forty-five years ago, Ken and Teena Smith began realizing their dream.
The year was 1978, and the Smiths had just recently moved to Fairview. They quickly engaged with the community when they opened Pizza Haven—a family restaurant and gathering place offering signature recipes cooked to perfection.
Today, daughter Debi Dechant is at the helm.
“After my dad passed away in 1989, it didn’t take long for me to start helping with the day-to-day operations,” said Dechant. “Then, when my mom passed in 2008, I fully took over and wanted to keep their dream alive.”
The dream has always been to bring people together and serve them great food and hearty portions of amazing hospitality. From the beginning, and to this day, Pizza Haven is well-known for their pizza bread, the “Ed Burger,” lasagna, and of course, their outstanding pizza. Is it the dough? The secret sauce? Or both?
With unwavering support from her husband, Brent, Debi continues to run the business with long-term employees Geri, Michelle, and Dustin; two of her three sons; and a host of fresh faces.
“We wouldn’t be here if not for our experienced staff,” said Debi. “We really enjoy employing young people too, helping them enter the workforce, and accommodating their school and extracurricular schedules.”
The dream and the drive have been alive for 45 years, which is a major milestone, but as some will remember, Pizza Haven’s anniversary comes with a slight twist.
“The original building burnt down in April of 1992, and we re-opened it in February of 1993,” said Debi. “So, technically it’s only been open for 44 years, but we didn’t let the fire stop us. We kept on going the whole time to open back up.”
Though the fire was a setback over 30 years ago, the new building was an opportunity to create a more efficient layout for the kitchen and dining room, which haven’t changed since.
“Consistency is key. It’s important to me to keep the experience as traditional as possible, which is also why our menu and style have never changed,” said Debi.
Throughout her years working in the restaurant, Debi’s fondest memories are of all the special occasions community members have celebrated under the Pizza Haven roof.
“Celebrations are my favourite. We love to host,” said Debi. “Personally, I love that the business is fulfilling its purpose as a place people come to celebrate significant events in their lives. It’s how memories are made, and we’re honoured to play an important role in that.”
As generations pass, Pizza Haven has remained. It’s been a pillar in Fairview and has served the whole region. And, it’s safe to say Ken and Teena’s dream is alive and well.
“Life is too short not to celebrate milestones and accomplishments, and we can’t wait to share it with our loyal community members,” said Debi.
11025 102 Ave, Fairview | 780-835-4991 | Like Pizza Haven on Facebook