At age 15, Cedar Rapids-native Angela Kobusch landed her first job in the pizza industry. It was a gig at Domino's, and Kobusch said something clicked.
Thirteen years later, the now 28-year-old entrepreneur is still doing what she loves, but she’s doing it as her own boss in her own pizzeria, Sweet Basil’s Pizza Pie.
“I’m surprised to be where I’m at right now,” Kobusch said. “But it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and my dad always wanted to do something like a restaurant or bar. So we went in on it.”
Sweet Basil’s Pizza Pie originally debuted in 2005 run by Basil and Lynn Hadjis, who also owned the Vernon Inn. Kobusch worked in the pizza kitchen for about a year before the Hadjises closed their businesses.
The Vernon Inn, along with its pizza shop, shuttered on May 26, 2012, but Kobusch decided it was worth resurrecting. In November, she bought the business name and the rights to its recipes.
Her parents, Dan and Sheryl Kobusch, bought the pizzeria’s new building at 2874 Mt. Vernon Road SE, and together they opened for business on Nov. 13.
“It gave me a lot of anxiety,” Kobusch said. “I was very, very nervous about the whole thing. But I had my mom and dad to help me — they were helping me along the way with everything.”
Another plus is Kobusch has plenty of pizza-making experience. She started at home with her mom as a child, worked for 11 years at Domino's Pizza and served a stint at Pizza Hut before moving over to Sweet Basil’s Pizza Pie.
The business currently is operating with just three other employees — her mom, a cousin and a waitress from the Vernon Inn.
Weekends are especially busy, Kobusch said, but it's worth the wait, she contended. All the vegetables are cut fresh daily, and the staff cooks the beef and sausage in house.
“We want to be a place where people can order whatever they want,” she said. “People can come in with an idea or a creation, and we will make it. And if we don’t have it, I’m totally open to suggestions.”
Business has been building over the first couple months, and Kobusch said she hasn’t had a “horrible night” yet. Regulars from the original Sweet Basil’s have found the new site, she added.
Right now, the pizzeria is take-out only, and Kobusch said she expects it to stay that way for a while. Eventually, she might add seating, but she has little interest in offering delivery.
“It’s a lot of hassle and liability,” she said.
Owner: Angela Kobusch
Company: Sweet Basil’s Pizza Pie
Address: 2874 Mt. Vernon Road SE, Cedar Rapids
Phone: (319) 366-2000
Hours: 4 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, and 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Closed Mondays.Favorite specialty pie: “My favorite one is Eat Your Veggies. I like all the different variety of vegetables.”