There are always going to be shops in every region that requires guests to queue before entering. Uncle Pete’s Pizza in Taitung is no exception. Specializing in pizza, is one of the Taitung’s cuisines that have been repeatedly reported on the Internet.
Before actually meeting the owner of Uncle Pete’s Pizza, he was originally expected to be an old man with a blushing face. Unexpectedly, a boy full of vitality actually appeared, and because he was a few minutes late, he immediately apologized. “I just dropped my children off at school in Donghe, so I am a little late,” he says. His words are soft, and his smile is particularly bright. This image is really difficult to associate with him.
When he arrived in Taiwan in 1999, he had just graduated from college and watched his friends around him having learnt two or three foreign languages. He also wanted to learn a second language, which is why he decided to come to Taiwan to learn Chinese. “Taiwan is a tropical island. In addition to learning Chinese, I should also be able to play surf!” he explains. From his answer, one can guess that Pete is probably interested in surfing. He did not expect to settle on the east coast.
When he first arrived in Taiwan, Pete had originally lived in Taichung. He once went on a trip with friends around the island by motorcycle. He saw the beautiful coastline and the magnificent mountainous scenery along the way, and was particularly impressed by Taitung. In fact, when asked why he chose to stay in Tatung, he said it was because of his wife. Pete and his other half taught English. Once their relationship was established, they chose to settle in Taitung.Pete majored in art at university, which explains the several painting up on display in his pizzeria. During his stay in Taiwan, Pete obtained a master’s degree. After graduating, he returned to Taitung where he wanted to go and teach in National Taitung University. There were no suitable positions at that time. “Since there was no work, we decided to open a gallery, and then sell pizza in the gallery to see if we can attract people. We did not expect pizzas to sell better than the painting!” says Pete. He couldn’t help but smile, and felt that life was so wonderful that things went so far in unexpected places. He never imagined that his pizza would become so popular in Taitung.
In actual fact, he experienced one of the biggest crisis during the opening of the store. It happened to be a misunderstanding with a customer due to bad communication. It made the local news. “If a customer wants to make an order over the phone, we will prepare the pizza first. The pizza will then enter the oven immediately after they arrive, and they will then have to wait 3 to 5 minutes. There was indeed a misunderstanding caused by bad communication that one time,” he says. When thinking about the incident, Pete feels that he should communicate more closely with the customer. The taste and temperature of the pizza will be just right when they taste the pizza. This is why he chooses this method of preparation. After that incident, many people came to support him. Pete said that some people pass through the shop to support him, while others specifically come there to encourage him. This is what he thinks makes the people of Taitung so lovely. This is the power that allowed Pete to stick with it during that period and continue to provide customers with his delicious pizzas.
During more than a decade in Taitung, Pete explains that many foreign friends saw that is business was thriving in Taitung, so they followed suit to also do business in Taitung. They didn’t know where to start, so they came to him for advice. “If there was a service for providing industry consultations for advice in Taitung, what would be great!” he suggests. He also hopes that more foreigners who love Taitung can settle here, and bring about the integration and exchange of diverse cultures, and inject more vitality into Taitung!