BANGOR, Maine — This Father’s Day, three men named Gary Jewell will be hard at work in their pizza shop, flipping dough, making sandwiches and enjoying their time together as grandfather, father and son.
Gary Jewell Sr., 64; son Gary Jewell Jr., 41; and his son Gary Jewell, 17, all work at Jewell’s Pizza Oven on Ohio Street.
The family started the business seven years ago on Lincoln Street before making the 1.5-mile move to a smaller store on Thomas Hill about 16 months ago. Gary Jewell Jr. said they transitioned to the quieter area because on-street parking was a challenge during the day’s busiest hours. The move has been good for business.
“It’s all these houses, it’s all these people all over the neighborhood that you have to concentrate on,” Gary Jewell Jr. said during an interview inside the cozy eatery. “We’ve tried to take our little section of Ohio Street and make it welcoming.”
With grandfather, father and son working under the same roof, which Jewell is boss?
“That’s something we go round and round about,” Gary Jewell Jr. said. “Depends on which Jewell you’re asking, when you’re asking and what you’re asking about.”
You could say pizza is in their genes.
The Jewells got into the pie business about nine years ago when another one of Gary Jewell Sr.’s sons started Pa’s Pizza in Searsport. Gary Sr. and Jr. helped out and eventually decided to open a pizza joint closer to home in Bangor, according to Gary Jewell Jr.
“It’s like any family-run business,” the middle Jewell said. “We all love the business and we each sometimes have our own opinions on how to do things,” which occasionally can lead to family squabbles.
“Ain’t that the truth,” his son chimed in.
The youngest Jewell just finished his junior year at Bangor High School. He has been working at the shop since he turned 15, but has helped out from time to time since he was 10. He works Fridays, Saturdays and whenever the Pizza Oven needs help, his father said.
Upon finishing school, he’d like to pursue a career in video game development, but one day would be willing to take over the family business, that’s if someone else managed it.
“That way what my father wanted to see for this business can still happen while I pursue my goals,” he said.
Gary Jewell Sr. works as a truck driver for Home Depot when he isn’t at the Pizza Oven. He’s the type who can’t sit still, said his wife, Kate Jewell, who also pitches in at the shop.
“I tell him it’s too much, and he just says he loves working,” she said.
When asked what his ideal Father’s Day gift would be, the eldest Jewell laughed and said, “a day off!”
The grandfather and father say they each plan to work half the day on Sunday, so the other can enjoy some relaxation time.
“You really don’t need anything more than a ‘Happy Father’s Day,’” Gary Jewell Sr. said.