About Bilbo's Pizza
Bilbo's started in 1976 by John Hindman and Charlie Konett. We had been friends in college and often discussed going into some kind of business together. Bilbo's grew out of our interest in and love for the famous Tolkien trilogy chronicling the adventures of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, Wizards and all manner of interesting characters. We chose the name Bilbo's because of the enduring nature of the character by that name and the tree logo because of the singular and unusual (to Hobbits) existence of the Mallorn tree in Hobbiton that became the centerpiece for the grand birthday party that Bilbo threw for himself that signaled the beginning of the adventure of the War of the Ring.
The generosity of diversity in Tolkien's character development allowed us to have a lot of fun with this world. The richness endemic to fantasy characters presented, as they were, as part of a history gives rise to fleeting notions that such beings might well have preceded us here, and that flight is buttressed from time to time by references in the work. Hobbits, for example, are said to be able to pass unnoticed by most if they wished to and elves would probably have been considered to be some half-remembered day dream if any of us had happened upon them unawares. So we feel remotely tied to them and their world.
In the early years of Bilbo's, there were groups of people, whether Tolkien Society or Society for Creative Anachronism members, who engaged us in debates about our depictions of characters.
It was pointed out by one that Hobbits did not have facial hair and that our rendition of Bilbo was therefore inaccurate. Our response was that there was a remote division of Hobbits, the Stoors, who indeed did sometimes grow facial hair and that Bilbo was certainly a descendant of this line. There was a group of people who had developed their own costumes with elaborate masks and accouterments who, upon arrangement, would visit our dining room and display themselves in full regalia. Patrons of Bilbo's were treated to fairy-like creatures crouching next to their table as if avoiding some greater threat from something otherwise unseen by ordinary men and women. Before anyone could gather themselves enough to break the spell, the visitors were gone. Our own great adventure was a thorough family commitment.
Through the years literally all of the members of our families have worked at Bilbo's, from our wives to John's six children and Charlie's four! We have been privileged to meet and get to know many people — we've even see a number of people who met at Bilbo's, ended up getting married, and eventually brought in families of their own. Since its inception, one of our driving forces has been to create a pleasant and fun environment in which to work and make a living. It has been our hope that others would share that wish allowing us to develop relationships with employees beyond the stereotypical idea of business. Indeed, over the years we have made many friends of folks who have worked for us, shared holidays, and always enjoyed lots of laughs. It's been 40 years now, and we shake our heads in wonder that time has passed so quickly. We still hold to the hope that any day now we'll run in to an actual Hobbit or Elf. It seems farfetched, but so was the dream we had 40 years ago to open Bilbo's.