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Saint Giuseppe's answers pizza prayers

Joe Schilling, owner of St. Giuseppe's, poses for a portrait inside the restaurant May 9, 2017 in East Moline.

EAST MOLINE -- An opening prayer is about to be answered at Saint Giuseppe's.

"Heavenly pizza" will rise again at "Saint G's"  new East Moline location at 363 Avenue of the Cities, the former home of a Hignight Florist greenhouse.

With help from family, friends and employees, owner and store manager Joe Schilling, 23, has taken three days to move furniture and supplies from the restaurant's former location at 2525 53rd St., Moline. He plans to reopen the business by Thursday, with hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The new building has been long awaited. When plans to move the restaurant were first announced in April 2016, the Schillings expected a Sept. 1, 2016, completion date. Some unexpected construction and contractor delays slowed them down.

The move will allow Saint Giuseppe's to expand its seating from 65 to almost 100, Mr. Schilling said. Its parking lot will grow from 19 spaces to 54 spaces, shared with Hignight's and a Man's Image hair salon. 

"I'm just so happy right now, I can't tell you," he said Tuesday. "And I'm excited for all the future opportunities for growth."

Mr. Schilling said plans are to add beer and wine to the menu, while keeping Saint Giuseppe's as much of a family-friendly environment as it always has been.

He also said he has tried to make it easier for customers who struggle to pronounce "Giuseppe's." In addition to the traditional Saint Giuseppe's sign on a parking lot post, he's added lights on the building, identifying it as "Saint G's" -- as people began referring to it.

Perhaps the only mystery remaining for customers will be figuring out where the music is coming from in the restaurant. Mr. Schilling said he is installing LDL light bulbs that can be programmed to provide music.

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"We have developed quite a customer base of people who crave our pizza," he said. "It's pretty heart-warming."

He also said he has counted on the support of loyal, faithful customers.

"And I feel very lucky to have parents who love me and contribute so much to support me," Mr. Schilling said.

He said his father, former U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, has contributed time and money to support the restaurant, while his mother, Christie, has pitched in with painting and other work to get Saint Giuseppe's ready. 

"They have done practically everything that I lack in my skill set," Joe Schilling said. "I'm not what you might call mechanically inclined."

He is, however, a dreamer who prides himself on his ability to devise "crazy social-media gimmicks."

He said he hopes to add Saint Giuseppe's locations in Bettendorf, Davenport, Rock Island and, eventually, back in Moline.

For more details, call 309-736-0000.

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