The man that put the pep in Pep’s was Joseph “Pep” Simek Sr, an American businessman originally from Ogema, Wisconsin. In 1962 Pep, along with his brother Ron Simek, became the co-owners and bartenders of the Tombstone Tavern in Medford, WI. The Tombstone Tavern was located adjacent to a cemetery, leading to the origin of its name. Pep and Ron set up a side business making pizzas in the tavern’s tiny 6’ x 6’ kitchen in the back of the bar to bring in extra income. The new pizzas became very popular, and Tombstone Pizza was born. Pep served as CEO of Tombstone Pizza until the business was sold to Kraft Foods in 1986
Years later Pep Simek opened a new pizzeria, Pep’s Pizza, again in Medford, Wisconsin. The combination of new unique recipes, finest quality ingredients and Pep’s special recipe pizza sauce saw demand grow. To meet consumer demands he began working with Hansen Foods in Green Bay, WI to perfect and produce a frozen line of his new pizzas. Their partnership resulted in expanded sales throughout Wisconsin and beyond.
Upon Pep’s passing in 2013, the Pep’s Pizza brand and recipes were purchased by Hansen Foods and became a permanent part of their family of brands. Today, the Pep’s pizza tradition continues with an entire family of brands including Pep’s Drafthaus, Pep’s 62 and Pep’s Italian-Oh!
We invite you to explore the entire family of Pep’s pizza!