Stateline Strong: Police Officer Runs Pizza Business That’s All About Family


A local police officer pulls double duty by patrolling and serving up slices of pizza.

Matthew Shook says it took 33 different recipes before he and his wife, Dana, found the perfect pizza dough. The two own Savino’s Brick Oven. The business gets part of it’s name from the 900 degree oven-on-wheels. It can cook a pizza in 90 seconds flat! The other part of the name comes from Dana, whose family, the Savinos, have dished up Italian delicacies for decades.

“This is my wife’s secret recipe,” said Shook as he slathered on homemade pizza “gravy” as Italians call it. Shook said he’s gotten in trouble with his wife’s family for calling it sauce, but then again he’s not really Italian.

“I’m German and Polish,” laughed Shook.

And handling a pizza peel isn’t all he does. If the name, Shook, seems familiar, it’s because of Eyewitness News Anchor Jay Leonardi’s “Behind the Badge” story which introduced him to you as Officer Matthew Shook. He’s one of the three Belvidere police officers who sprang into action at Spencer pond a few months ago.

“I love it,” said Shook about being a police officer, “It’s truly a calling. It’s something I want to continue doing.” Shook has working the Belvidere beat for 11 years. It’s only in the last two that he began working dough.

“We always wanted to start some kind of small business and then with our love for food, and then our passion especially for pizza, it really all came together,” explained Shook.

Shook works side by side with his wife.

“She’s really the heart and soul of the business,” said Shook of his wife, Dana. Savino’s is a family affair.

“You really like to help out, don’t you?” said Shook to his son, Grant.

Shook is leaving a legacy for his four sons and daughter-on-the-way, one slice of pizza at a time.

Family values and traditions are important to us. Shook says his family would like to one day open a brick and mortar restaurant, but believes there will always be a niche for the portable oven.

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