The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Father and son duo build legacy at Wig & Pen

Wig & Pen Co-owner Richard Querrey has created a family-centered environment with his son and Co-owner Chris Querrey and other family members running the business close by.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Wig & Pen Pizza Pub Co-Owner and General Manager Chris Querrey picks up a drink at Wig & Pen Pizza Pub on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023.

Co-owner of the Wig & Pen Pizza Pub Richard Querrey purchased the Iowa City pizza place in 1993 and is working to leave a legacy to his son, Chris Querrey.

Known for its Chicago-style deep dish pizza, the pub sits on the Coralville Strip at 1220 US-6 and has been touted by reviewers on Tripadvisor as having some of the best pizza in the area.

The pizzeria has also been in the process of renovating its Coralville location, with a planned update of the patio. Other locations can be found in North Liberty, and the Des Moines area, according to the Wig & Pen website.

Chris Querrey said he didn’t originally intend to be a co-owner of the pizzeria. He was officially on the payroll in his first year of college, running all sorts of errands and doing odd jobs for his dad, but he planned on trying to make it out in the real world.

“It’s been in my blood now for two-thirds of my life. It’s entertaining. It’s challenging. I’m not quite sure it’s for everybody — you sacrifice a lot,” Chris Querrey said. “It’s part of my DNA now.”

Chris Querrey said he thinks of customers as being guests at his house.

“I want you to be welcomed and I want you to be satisfied and I want you to come back,” Querrey said.

Most of all, the pizzeria is a place for family, and not just for the Querreys, although multiple members of their family have worked at the Wig & Pen.

RELATED: Iowa City’s Bluebird Diner wins Reader’s Digest award for best diner in Iowa

Maggie McGivern, a member of the staff who’s worked there for nine years, agreed that the restaurant exudes a familial atmosphere.

“It’s definitely like my second home,” McGivern said. “I met my husband here. I met my best friends here. It’s really like a family environment.”

The Wig & Pen wasn’t always the cornerstone of Iowa City which many consider it to be today. In 1993, Richard Querrey changed all that.

“I just asked the question if the place was ever available, I’d certainly like to put my name on that,” Richard Querrey said about the Wig & Pen. “It became available the next day.”

A historic flood in its opening year didn’t stop him, and neither did the Iowa floods of 2008, though the building had to be gutted and renovated both times. Despite this, the Querreys persevered, even when the only surviving original part of the building was the cabinets above the bar.

As restaurant owners grow older and start looking toward retirement, Richard Querrey said, they are forced to sell more often than not, especially when the owner doesn’t have children who can take over the business.

Richard Querrey, on the other hand, counts himself grateful for the way his son has helped with the family business.

“I will say this, sometimes we don’t agree on some of the things,” he said. “But he always wins, and for good reason. He’s made some great decisions.”

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About the Contributor
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.