HISTORY OF THE ELM'S
1936 was an interesting year to say the least. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected to his second term as President of the United States, the Hoover Dam was finally completed creating hydroelectric power, and The Ohio State University track star Jesse Owens won four Olympic gold medals in Berlin to the infuriation of Adolf Hitler.
And as the Great Depression continued to linger into another summer, and take its toll across the country Luther Hudson Williams and his family decided to go into business.
Though the Elm's Pizza Parlor has only been serving food to Central Ohio since 1984, its roots stretch all the way back to 1936, when Luther Hudson Williams purchased the building on 113 East Elm Street to start his own Chevrolet car dealership.
The new dealership was called Hud's Chevrolet Sales and was the only Chevrolet dealership in Granville. "Hud", as the townspeople called him, sold Chevrolet models like the Bel Air, El Camino, Impala, and the Corvair.
Hud's son, Bernard Williams, grew up around the dealership and starting around the age of 5 years old, learned the trade of selling automobiles along side his father. Hud's Chevrolet would be the Williams family business all the way up until 1963.
In 1953, the same year the famed Corvette was first sold, Luther Hudson added on another edition to the building that they would use as their "show room". This new added wing of the building would eventually be turned into the Elm's Pizza Parlor over 31 years later.
After another 10 years of selling cars passing of "Hud" Williams passed away and General Motors decided to close the doors to Hud's Chevrolet Sales in 1963. Over the next 21 years Bernie oversaw the building, providing for his 6 kids by becoming a successful General Motors car salesman and by leasing out the empty space to NAPA and a handful of other local businesses.
But in August of 1981, while Bernie and his son Doug were going for a ride in Bernie's 1946 Globe Swift airplane, the aircraft's electrical equipment burned out while taking off causing the plane to crash and leaving them both with major injuries. As time passed the family started to piece their lives back together realizing that they needed a new profession to support themselves.
Bernie's wife, Genevieve Hilah Williams had a sister, Jackie Gregg, and a few other relatives who were already in the pizza business, and it seemed to be an idea that could also work in Granville. Together Hilah and Bernie figured a pizza shop would be the perfect business for a family with 6 children to operate.
3 years after the crash that changed the Williams family forever, their new idea was finally realized when the doors opened once again to 113 East Elm Street. But this time not as a family run car dealership, but rather as a family owned pizza shop called "Elms Pizza Parlor". Instead of a "show room", there was a dining room.
Actually Hilah almost named the restaurant "Show Room Pizza" because where the business now stood used to be the show room floor for the car dealership 31 years before. Then there was the idea of naming it "Elm's Street Pizza", which Hilah did not want because the horror movie, "Nightmare on Elm's Street" had just been released earlier that year.
The family eventually shortened the name and simplified it down to "Elm's Pizza Parlor", a name that has been engrained into the very fabric of Granville, Ohio for over 27 years now.
Over the years, every one of Bernie and Hilah's children and grandchildren have worked at the Elms. Whether rolling out their famous thin crust pizza, creating their own custom dough and pizza sauce, baking pans of home-made lasagna, delivering piping hot food, or greeting their walk-in customers with a familiar friendly face, the entire Williams family has helped to make the Elm's Pizza Parlor a cornerstone of tradition in Granville.
With the average life span for a new startup restaurant at only 3 years, the Elm's Pizza Parlor and more importantly the family who own and operate it, have bucked the odds by making top notch pizza made from scratch, while creating a welcomed family atmosphere that has been well received since day one.
"The Elm's", as many of the regulars call it, has not only been a great place for food, but has seen its share of other uses. There have been weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, music concerts, and college football parties inside the doors at Elms Pizza. Friday nights are especially busy after a Granville Blue Aces home football game or Saturday afternoons in the Fall when the Ohio State Buckeyes are on the tv.
The restaurant is not only family-run, but is family for many of the town locals and Williams family friends who you can find hanging out at a small table in the back room nearly every day.
Every day is unique while staying amazingly consistent at the same time at the Elm's Pizza Parlor. Each year it continues to feed people from seemingly all walks of life from cheerleading camps, to sports teams, to local fire and policemen, to famous musicians and even an Olympic athlete. Even the current major of Granville has worked as a delivery driver for the pizza shop.
So if you are new to town, just driving through, or a local familiar face, Bernie, Hilah, Tammy, Doug, Michelene, Randy, Lisa, David and all the grandchildren urge you to stop in and say hello, and while you are at it enjoy some of the finest local, hand-made food that Granville has to offer.