DAPHNE, Alabama – Lisa and Don Taylor of Mobile discovered Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint a couple of years ago, when they were visiting her sister in Atlanta. Today, the couple is opening their own Uncle Maddio's in Daphne's Jubilee Square shopping center—and it's the first of more to come, since the Taylors bought the exclusive franchise rights to Mobile and Baldwin counties.
To understand what Uncle Maggio's is about, imagine a Subway or a Moe's Southwest Grill, only designed around pizza. Customers can create their own pizzas from a variety of ingredients, ranging from the standard Mozzarella, Italian sausage or pepperoni to more exotic items like goat cheese, pickled jalapenos and grilled tofu. Or, if the choices are overwhelming, several signature pizzas are also available, including Steak & Blue, Jamaican Jerk or The Greek.
Pizzas come in three sizes: individual ($6.99 and $7.99), medium for two people ($11.99 and $13.49) and extra large, which feeds four ($15.99 and $18.49). In addition to a traditional crust, whole wheat and gluten-free are also available, as is Daiya vegan cheese.
Uncle Maddio's also offers a variety of salads with homemade dressings, served with flatbread ($7.99) and toasted panini sandwiches.
The variety is what appealed to Lisa Taylor. "My sister's family is vegan; mine is not," she said. When her family visited her sister and tried to decide on a place to go out to eat, her sister said, "Let's do Maddio's." Taylor said, "What's a Maddio's?" But when they ate there, "I was blown away," she said. "We could all have what we wanted."
Driving home, Taylor "was thinking, 'I've got to do something with this.'"
As the founder of Televox software company in Mobile, Taylor is an entrepreneur whose passion, she said, is building employees. While she had no experience in the restaurant industry, she was intrigued by Uncle Maddio's and its "foundation of love," she said. She and her husband went back to Atlanta to meet with the restaurant's founders and were sold.
The Daphne location has 33 employees, most of them young people between the ages of 16 and 21 and many of whom are working at their first jobs. "We will mentor them, forgive them when they make mistakes," Taylor said. "We put 'Served with love' on the back of the shirts, but it's truly what we're trying to instill. You do it with love, no matter what your job is."
The next Uncle Maddio's will open at Westwood Plaza, the new shopping center under construction at Airport Boulevard and Schillinger Road. It should open during the first quarter of 2015, Taylor said.
"Our mission is to build the Maddio's franchise out," Taylor said. Over the next few years, the Taylors plan to open five restaurants. The first location to open in Alabama was in Auburn.
Uncle Maddio's is open today (Thursday) and Friday for lunch and dinner. Saturday, July 19, is the official grand opening celebration. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., each customer will receive a free individual-size pizza.
For more information, call (251) 621-9777 or visit www.unclemaddios.com.