The history of the Velvet Elvis Pizza Company is one of those synchronisms where fiction and reality become one to create a magnificent blend of exalted reality.
It starts with the painting of Elvis Presley on a velvet background finding it’s way from Xenia, Ohio to Patagonia, Arizona, at an old gutted out bakery, where Cecilia San Miguel is struggling to open a restaurant with no previous experience but impressive natural culinary skills.
Looking at this painting of the King, Cecilia San Miguel has an “aha” moment and she decides “Velvet Elvis” is the name for her upcoming restaurant.
In a twist and turn of events reminiscent of Like Water for Chocolate, Forest, the grandson of a restauranteur wanna-be, arrived at Cecilia’s door in Patagonia with a beat-up suitcase full of recipes looking for a job.
It turns out that Forest’s grandfather owned a bagel shop next door to a pizzeria in Brooklyn, New York called Eli’s where they made the authentic old world pizza dough and sauce.
Forest who had experience opening restaurants got the job at the Velvet Elvis and together with Cecilia’s son JP, adjusted the recipes to balance water, humidity, altitude, environment and oven temperature to make the dough for what would become the most incredible pizza, calzone and bread on this side of the San Pedro River.
Cecilia’s culinary gifts shined in the choices of toppings for the designer pizzas and calzones and the fresh ingredients of salads and soups; a very talented chef whose very light touch had gone a long way in order to make her dream a reality.
On December 12, 1998 with a procession honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Velvet Elvis opened it’s doors in the town of Patagonia, Arizona, whose lucky residents and visitors have been eating delicious pizzas, calzones, breads, salads, soups and entrees ever since!