TYRONE - A hat trick of eateries run by a local family is serving up good food in a family-friendly atmosphere.
Scott and Juanita Illig opened an ice cream shop about a decade ago, and while the Tyrone couple still serve up Galliker's soft-serve ice cream today, they've also expanded, adding on a restaurant and pizza joint that all fits under one roof and one name - The Family Chill & Grill and Fire House Pizza.
The trucker and motorcycle-friendly eatery, located on South Eagle Valley Road, which is easily accessed from the Bald Eagle exit of Interstate 99, was a service station at one time, Scott said.
Mirror photos by J.D. Cavrich
Family Chill & Grill and Fire House Pizza owners Scott and Juanita Illig pose at the Tyrone restaurant.
Wayne Kaspick, the manager of the Fire House Pizza side of the Family Chill & Grill, tosses a pizza in the restaurant.
The family-friendly eatery, which has rides for kids, is mostly family-run.
Daughters Julie Kephart, Christine Woomer and Gretchen Illig, and nephew Bob Imler, kitchen manager, are on staff.
The longtime firefighter, who used to work in the construction business, and his family constructed most of the restaurant as it stands today with adjoining dining spaces for the restaurant, which is reminiscent of an old-fashioned diner, and the pizza shop. Both areas have kitchen space open to the public.
The Family Chill & Grill
and Fire House Pizza
Address: 13524 South Eagle Valley Road, Tyrone
Phone number: 684-1990 or 684-1131
Online: Facebook, under Family-chill-and-grill-fire-house-pizza
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with extended hours in the summer. The full breakfast menu is served until 11 a.m.
Price range: $.75 to $15.99
Atmosphere: casual, family-friendly
Capacity: about 100
Specialties: Burgers, pizza, cheese steak, breakfast
"What you're going to find out here, if you look around, everything's made in front of you here," Scott said. "There's no 'behind the walls.' No behind the scenes or anything like that. They're right there making everything so people can see, even on the restaurant side."
On the pizza side, there is an outdoor eating area with garage doors that can be opened between its dining room and patio. Another patio is located outside the ice cream shop.
What they offer on the menu - which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner - is mostly homemade, including their sauce, dough and bread, Scott said.
The restaurant is known for its burgers, he added.
"Burgers and pizza. A lot of people love our burgers," he said.
Their burgers - which include the Smokehouse burger, a 1/2-pound of patty with BBQ sauce, bacon and cheese, and the Fireman's Burger, a 1/4-pound patty smothered in chili and cheese - are made with fresh ground beef, he said.
"We have a guy who brings his wife up from Lock Haven for our burgers," Juanita, who has a restaurant background, said. "He said they're the best around."
Dinners on the menu include roast beef or turkey with stuffing and grilled pork chops. Specials listed on a board included baked steak, meatloaf and salmon cakes.
But let's not forget the pizza.
Wayne Kaspick, pizza shop general manager, said the hand-tossed pizzas are baked in a stone deck oven.
"We've maintained that old-style, New-York style pizza, and I think a lot of people really like that," he said.
They also make pizzas for high school students to sell at concession stands.
"We support the community and they support us," Juanita said.
Scott, who has served as chief for the Bald Eagle Fire Department and is the safety officer for the Tyrone Blazing Arrow Fire Department, has paid tribute to "all the heroes out there" on the Fire House Pizza side of the business, Juanita said.
Part of why Scott wanted to incorporate the theme was to promote fire safety and emergency professions to kids, he said.
T-shirts from different departments hang from the ceiling, along with a Flight 93 flag.
Firefighters who served in New York during 9/11 have come to the restaurant to give a shirt and shared emotional stories, Scott said.
"I get firemen from everywhere because they think it's neat to have something that shows what they do," he said.
Customers come to the eatery from near and far, Juanita said.
Tim and Tammy Poorman of Howard usually stop in whenever they come to Altoona.
"We've had a little bit of everything here and it's all been good," Tim said while dining there last week.
"I like their pizza, and this is the first I've had their chicken wrap and it was very good," Tammy said. "Like him, I like the atmosphere. It's neat to look at all the firemen things ... Everybody's always really nice."
Jessica Patton of Tyrone also enjoys eating there.
"Everything here is good," Patton said. "Breakfasts are good - I come here for breakfast a lot actually. But everything's good. Pizza's good. Wings are good. The price is good, yes. I haven't really ever gotten anything here that I didn't think was good."
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.