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Long family opens 5th Avenue Pizza in Ellendale


AT YOUR SERVICE — Ricky and Sarah (Lundberg) Long have renovated the old Maggio’s Pizza building and turned it into the 5th Avenue Pizza Shoppe in downtown Ellendale. (Star Eagle photo by Kathy Paulsen)


Staff Writer

Who doesn't like pizza, especially since there are so many choices to choose from and it is so easy to find?

Ricky and Sarah (Lundberg) Long recently decided to open the 5th Avenue Pizza Shoppe, on the top of the hill in Ellendale at 301 5th Avenue West.

Ricky is originally from West Texas, where his dad works for a natural gas company and his mother was a stay-at-home Mom for his brother, sister, and him. Sarah is a New Richland native who went to college at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, where she and Ricky met. She plays piano and writes songs, while Ricky is a drummer. They attend and are active members of Vibrant Life Assembly of God Church in Ellendale.

Ricky and Sarah moved to Ellendale in 2006 and purchased a home there in 2007. Ricky worked for the previous pizza restaurant, Maggio’s, for four years. 

From time to time, the previous owners suggested Ricky invest in the business, but the Longs felt their family was too young at the time and family came first.

It was always their dream to open a coffee and ice cream house because Ricky loves coffee and Sarah loves ice cream. About a month and a half ago, they talked again and decided operating a pizza business was worth a try.

Shortly thereafter, Sarah discovered a piece of décor with the words, "Until you spread your wings, you will have no idea how far you can fly.” They signed a lease and have been going strong since.

Ricky and Sarah started working on renovating, painting and cleaning the building after Maggio’s closed its doors in early August. With family help, Ricky and Sarah, along with Sarah’s parents, David and Karen Lundberg, and her grandmother, Jan Prescher, worked hard and enjoyed every minute of the excitement of giving this shop a fresh, clean face lift. 

They gave everything a fresh coat of paint, cleaned carpet, put in new lighting, new cabinets, and a new cash register counter, built by Ricky. An artistic Sarah designed their logo and painted the sign on display. 

They're very excited about their family-friendly atmosphere that features pictures from around the world.

5th Avenue Pizza Shoppe is not a franchise business, and both the sauce and crust are homemade, using recipes from Maggio’s original founder, Jeff Misgen. The Longs have switched from a thin crust or hand-tossed crust option to a medium thickness. 

Customers have already commented on the

 crust, even those who aren’t “crust people.” They also have a gluten-free crust available. Another notable switch they made to the pizzas was putting the toppings on top of the cheese and not under.

They have a special for each day they are open. They range from deals for families, to those who like bone-in or boneless wings with their pizza, to deals for one or two people sharing a meal. They offer about 20 topping choices and five pizza sizes.

You can also find appetizers, chicken wings, lettuce salads, and newly introduced meatballs, which have been a big hit. Finally, for those who may have a sweet tooth, they have mini-cinis or five flavors of dessert pizza. 5th Avenue Pizza Shoppe opened its doors August 22, when Ricky and Sarah did a trial run of operation with their church family.

They opened to the public the following day, and Ricky reports they had a great night of business August 30.

They have the capability of serving about 50 people in their dining room, and offer carry out and delivery to the areas of Ellendale, Geneva, Clarks Grove, New Richland, Hartland, Hollandale and Hope.

Sarah and Ricky said business has been good so far and people have been supportive. They may look at being open over the noon hour later serving Chicago Dogs, Italian sandwiches, and mini calzones.

Hours of operation are Tuesday-Friday, 3-9 (during the high school football season they will be open until 11 on Fridays); Saturday, 4:30-10, and Sunday 4:30-9.

Starting out, they kept their employee numbers to a minimum, hiring Sarah’s parents, David and Karen Lundberg, who also had worked for Maggio’s, and her grandmother, Jan Prescher, who likes to call herself a “commercial domestic engineer” now. In the near future they will be taking on more employees, but want to be sure everything is up and running as smooth as possible with those who have worked in the pizza business in the past.

Sarah and Ricky are the parents of three children: Gideon, 5; Cainan, 4; and Reign, 2.

When Ricky and Sarah are not working they appreciate being able to spend time with their three young boys, working together with the worship team at their church — as well as hoping to get a good night’s sleep.

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