IT’S a true blue Australian story. A man leaves his home – the beautiful land of Syria – to take a risk that he can make a new life in the sunburnt country. He works hard to build a business that he can leave to his kids. And alongside that business, he leaves them values, a belief in hard work and a love of community.
The man was Pappa Joe and the business is Big Pappa’s Pizza in Camira. The guy who runs the joint along with his family is Ramee Rizk. To look at Ramee, you see the Middle East – the origins are plain to see – but when he opens his mouth… it’s authentic Aussie! And like most of us, he’s madly in love with our home.
In fact, Ramee is 100% Ipswich – a well-known figure in the Greater Springfield area – and his pizza place is where Springfield folks head when they want great pizza, pasta and ribs. It’s a small place that packs a big punch.
“Being small allows us to focus on quality,” says Ramee. “We’re all about fresh ingredients and we make our dough fresh every day. It’s not of the chain places. For me, it’s all about this community.”
This focus has allowed the business to become a beloved haunt of Springfield locals and Ramee himself lives in the area. He loves the community feel of the area – and he in turn likes to get involved in the community. Big Pappa’s was there to help when the Halloween hailstorms hit and during the floods. And it’s a big supporter of the Springfield Mo-Men – although Ramee assures us that the beard is year round, not just for Movember!
But it’s not just about being there in the hard times. It’s also about being part of the good. And for Ramee it’s about honouring the legacy of Pappa Joe.