SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Siouxlanders may be familiar with El Fredo’s and their Lennon Legacy Pizza, but have you heard the story behind their super-secret recipe?
The Lennon Legacy pizza could be described as everything you can think of that would belong on a pizza. According to the owner of El Fredo’s, Mark Lennon, the pizza is a little bit of everything from everybody in the family.
“The Lennon Legacy is named after our family, naturally, who started El Fredo’s Pizza in 1957 – my father did,” said Lennon, “The Lennon Legacy is just kind of a combination of ingredients my family likes on a pizza. There’s 12 in our family, 10 boys and two girls and we’ve all worked for El Fredo’s, for my dad, over the years.”
The Lennon Legacy Pizza has pepperoni, sausage, hamburger, meatballs, jalapenos, pineapple, and onion. The process of making the pizza begins with preparing the dough. Lennon said after they lay the dough out, they start to “dock” the dough, which helps to prevent unwanted bubbles.
After they dock the dough, they add the original sauce to the pie and spread it around. Lennon said he prefers to use gravity to ensure that the sauce is spread evenly. Next, they’ll sprinkle some cheese before they begin adding the toppings. Before they add the pepperoni, they add a full layer of special blended mozzarella cheese. The pepperoni is added last to bring the edges to a crisp.
Lennon said that they cook the pizza at a high temperature because it is optimal for the dough. He added that it is typical for establishments to cook their pizzas at 400 degrees or higher. El Fredo’s cooks their pizza at 500 degrees because that is the optimal temperature for how the dough is made.
Lennon added that what makes El Fredo’s Pizza stand out in Siouxland is the secret recipe for the sauce. He said the recipe was invented in the family kitchen, and they keep the secret behind the original sauce locked up so tight that plankton wouldn’t stand a chance at getting his hands on it.
“We know there’s a lot of knockoffs out there,” said Lennon, “but you can’t get the original El Fredo’s if you don’t come down to El Fredo’s on West 19 and Center. We are the only El Fredo’s in town now.”
After the Lennon family decided to use their secret formula to open a business, they had to decide on a name for the establishment. Lennon said that the name ‘El Fredo’s’ was chosen because it was his father’s name.
“El Fredo’s translated just in Spanish means ‘Fred’s place,’” said Lennon, “And that really wasn’t his intention of calling it ‘Fred’s Place’ so that’s why they called it El Fredo’s.”
Over the years, El Fredo’s has moved around Siouxland multiple times before finally settling down on Sioux City’s west side. Lennon said that in 1957 when the restaurant first opened its doors, the establishment was located in the Sunset Plaza. Later, El Fredo’s was moved to 27 and Pierce Street which was the only location until Lennon’s father, Fred Lennon, decided to expand the market.
“[El Fredo’s] moved to Court Street and I think he found that once he did that, the market had grown so much that he wanted to open up another store,” said Lennon, “So, he opened up West 19 and after he got that going, he opened up the one out in Morningside on Transit Avenue. Those were all in business for a good 30 years, and then ended up closing the other two stores and now West 18 is the only El Fredo’s.”
Lennon said he took over El Fredo’s from his brother three years ago, and the COVID pandemic helped Lennon to learn how to better serve the community. He said the west side location always had a drive-thru window, but they didn’t open it until there was a demand for it. He added that the drive-thru has been successful ever since.
Lennon indicated that El Fredo’s sells anywhere from 200 a night to more than 300 on weekends, and he has a team that helps make the business run smoothly. He said he values the team and tries to show his appreciation for them through good food and employee trips to fun places such as Wild Water West or Kings Pointe.
“We’re very proud to be the owners of El Fredo’s Pizza and we want to thank the Siouxland community for all their support,” said Lennon, “We try hard to give them the best customer service we can give. Everything is original, it’s not a take-off of any other business, my father started this all on his own.”
Lennon noted that while there is only one El Fredo’s in Sioux City now, they are looking into expanding outside of Sioux City. Nothing is official yet, but the Lennon Legacy will be available for Siouxlanders for years to come.