Ellie and Pat Mullins take their food research very seriously.
Before opening their Three Oaks pizza shop last year, the couple took a trip to New York and toured various restaurants for a pizza that could inspire them. The taste test helped them to devise their own signature pizza style with a crust that is both chewy and crunchy and topped with locally-sourced ingredients.
The couple opened Patellie’s, 28 N. Elm St., in Three Oaks, late last year. The restaurant’s name is a combination of Pat and Ellie, which the couple thought sounded charming and Italian.
The response to Patellie’s pizza has been positive.
“We sold out on our first night,” Ellie says.
Those who patronize the restaurant can enjoy 16-inch whole wheat pizzas made from hand stretched dough. For those looking to grab and go, pizza is available by the slice.
Those looking to satisfy their hunger with something other than pizza can also find house-made meatballs, sausage, chicken and salads on the menu. Snacks in the form of house marinated olives and farmer’s cheese are also available for purchase.
A shared passion for food and locally sourced ingredients not only brought Pat and Ellie together, but has also fed their business inspiration along the way.
Twelve years ago, Ellie and Pat worked together at a restaurant in California. At the time, Ellie was a bartender and Pat a cook, and the pair were often sent out together to purchase fresh ingredients from the local farmers market.
Before opening Patellie’s, the couple owned and operated a butcher shop and grocery store called Local in New Buffalo, but Ellie says they felt they had outgrown it.
“It was a hard decision, but we felt like we had a way to still provide people good food,” Ellie says.
With Pat’s background crafting pizzas at a San Francisco restaurant called Pizzeria Delfina and the couple’s shared love of the food, they felt a pizza place just made sense.
At the core of Patellie’s is the goal to use locally sourced, fresh ingredients to provide the most flavorful punch in each bite, Ellie says.
“We work directly with farmers for our produce and our chicken and make sure that everything we bring in is raised naturally,” Ellie says. “That is kind of our thing: great ingredients and everything handmade. We do this for so many reasons. But at the end of the day, it is what tastes best.”
Pork and poultry is purchased from Gunthorp Farm in LaGrange, Indiana. Granor Farm — a certified organic farm in Three Oaks — provides some of the restaurant’s produce. Other farms like Iron Creek Farm in LaPorte, Indiana, which is also certified organic, also do business with the restaurant, alongside many other local vendors including Green Spirit in New Buffalo, which provides the restaurant with the fresh basil.
On an average evening at the restaurant, Pat works in the kitchen nimbly layering pizza dough with tomato sauce, cheese and toppings of all varieties. The pizzas are then fed into the pizza oven to bake, filling the restaurant and surrounding block with a tantalizing scent.
On the other side of the restaurant, Ellie checks on customers dining at a communal table.
“Are you going to leave any for the kids?” she asks.
“Don’t think so,” replies the customer as they help themselves to another piece.
Both Pat and Ellie say they were drawn to start their business in the downtown Three Oaks building when they discovered that a pizza shop of 40 years had once operated out of the space, leaving behind a pizza oven.
“We felt like it was very serendipitous,” Ellie says. “We put some new stones in it and had it recalibrated. We love it.”
Looking to the future, the couple says they hope to add a shop called P and E’s Bottle Shop where customers can expect to find wine, cider and a variety of snacks for purchase.
While having their own business was a shared goal as a couple, so was creating something that would complement the Michiana area.
“We love Three Oaks and all of Harbor Country,” Ellie says.
Photos by Michelle Grady