R.I.P. “Happy Joe” Whitty
I got a chance to interview "Happy Joe" Whitty at his home in Davenport to celebrate 45 years of Happy Joe's!
We talked about how he grew the restaurant to the Quad Cities staple it is. He talked about being a baker in Minnesota and managing a Shakey's restaurant. It was then a lady with a special needs child came to the door and asked if they were allowed. He was confused...and said of course. They had apparently been turned away from other places. The family came in and the kid had a ball. Joe talked about going home that night and wondered how many kids don't get to go out to eat because of their disabilities. It was that night that he decided if he owned his own place he would make everyone feel welcome.
So, 3 months after he opened his own place, he hosted a special needs night in order to make children of the area feel welcome & loved. They continued to host it every year since.
This is how legacies are built. Lead with your heart and the rest will follow.
Rest in peace, Happy Joe!
Here's how he came up with the Original Taco Pizza!