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OPEN 4 BIZ: Papa Dan’s Pizza & Pasta is king of takeout game, donates pizzas to first responders

Papa Dan's in Palm Desert has been a Coachella Valley staple since 1984.

In that time, the restaurant has developed quite a loyal fan base and has been consistently voted "Best Pizza in the Valley."

That's probably because the food always tastes as good as it does the first time.

"We're all Northern Italy. They're all old, old family recipes from years and years and years ago. And we're incredibly consistent. We don't ever change types of cheese, types of tomatoes," said Ira Mosley, owner of Papa Dan's.

From the most popular pie to classic spaghetti and meatballs, all special sauces and dough are made in house from old family recipes.

Like everyone else, Papa Dan's has seen a darkened dining room and a 50 percent drop in business because of the coronavirus pandemic. They have had to close the Sun City location and lay off dozens of workers but part of its restaurant model was ready for this.

While some restaurants have struggled to adapt, Papa Dan's has been the king of the takeout game for years so the transition hasn't been as tough. They have 8 delivery drivers, special heat bags and a restaurant section just for takeout.

Papa Dan's also eliminated its delivery charge.

Papa Dan's has also been active in helping those in need. The owners partnered with other charities to give hundreds of pizzas to the sheriff's and fire departments, the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission and more.

Their generosity has been returned in kind by the community.

"A $20 dollar order, and they put a 50 dollar bill -- and they say, "Keep the change.'" Mosley said. "Yeah, it's actually amazing what they're doing."

As we live it, the worst of times can often bring out the best in people.

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Angela Chen

Angela comes to the Coachella Valley as KESQ’s morning anchor after teaching graduate school classes at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication. Learn more about Angela here.

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