Monical’s – The scent of childhood
It’s been said that smell is one of the most powerful senses to induce an old memory. I can think of many instances where this has happened to me, but one stands out more than any other – the scent of a Monical’s Pizza restaurant. To this day, walking into a Monical’s location brings back a flood of good times from my childhood in Central Illinois.
I can’t recall my first trip to Monical’s. From tales I’ve been told, my first visit took place in 1983 in Normal, IL while I was still in my mother’s womb. My first real memory of being at a Monical’s comes from birthday parties at the location in Mount Zion. I’m not sure if it’s still located at the place I remember but, at the time, it was located in a small shopping strip along with a K-Mart, Kroger, Walgreen’s, a video rental store, a sandwich/Italian restaurant and a hair salon.
My father was the manager of that particular Walgreen’s so, naturally, we were at Monical’s on a regular basis. We would pickup a Family Pleaser (14” or 16” pizza, Family-Sized Garden Salad and Pitcher of Soft Drink) and eat it in the break room at his store. I can recall the smell of cardboard boxes from the storeroom and the aroma of a fresh Monical’s pizza. To this day, that combination of scents immediately takes me back to those days.
Any true fan knows that in order to fully enjoy the Monical’s experience, you dip your pizza into the French dressing before you take a bite. I remember being introduced to this classic method by Sharron, a Monical’s employee. Around that time, I also began dipping my breadsticks into my Coke. I haven’t done that in a long time. I should bring that back.
After a short stay near the Monical’s in Mahomet, I moved with my family to Indianapolis in January 2000. At that time, there wasn’t a Monical’s anywhere near us. It was one of the most difficult adjustments to make in our new home.
I recall bringing a cooler with me when I would visit friends and family in Illinois so I could return to Indy with a Monical’s feast. A few years later, while attending Purdue, I discovered there was a Monical’s in Lafayette, IN. Once I made that discovery, it became a requirement that I bring Monical’s whenever I visited the family in Indy.
My true joy came in 2007 when I learned a Monical’s Pizza location was opening in Avon, IN. When I first saw the sign, I didn’t believe it. I was building a home in Avon and was pumped to be near a Monical’s again. The location was open by the time construction on the house was completed. Monical’s was the first meal in my new home.
Every time I walk into a Monical’s, I’m always transported to that small, rough and memorable location in Mount Zion. The pizza is just as amazing today as it was then. To me, Monical’s will always be that scent that takes me back to the memories of my life.