Charlie’s Home of Pizza Taco may remain in Pratt for ‘nostalgic value’

WICHITA — Charlie’s Home of Pizza Taco owner Charlie Hoffman has died, but his popular Pratt restaurant likely will go on.

“It’s under discussion right now what exactly we’re going to do there,” says Hoffman’s son, David. “We’re going to probably keep it open.”

He says that’s knowing it won’t be profitable.

“If we did run it, it wouldn’t be for money,” Hoffman says. “We might keep it open for the nostalgic value.”

He and Tim Holmes opened Charlie’s PizzaTaco in west Wichita near Central and Tyler a couple of years ago.

They plan on expanding to other markets as well, such as Manhattan, Lawrence and Stillwater and Norman, Okla.

“We’re going to go after college towns in our part of the world,” Hoffman says. “People already know about pizza tacos.”

He can’t say how fast each market may happen.

“There’s some things that’ll probably happen this year yet,” Hoffman says. “We’ve got all the bugs worked out.”

Charlie Hoffman was helping his father run a gas station in Pratt in 1965 when he was approached by a food company to buy a $200 pizza oven. In 2011, he told Have You Heard? the company told him it would give him enough product to sell pizzas and make back his $200.

The late Charlie Hoffman's little red oven.

The late Charlie Hoffman’s little red oven.

“So I said, ‘OK, bring the oven,’ ” he said.

The pizza taco, which is simply a pizza shaped like a taco, was born in 1966 when Hoffman decided to feed kids going to movies nearby.

“There ain’t nothin’ taco in it,” Hoffman said. “I was going to make a sandwich-type of pizza for them to take to the drive-in theater with them.”

The idea was a taco design that wouldn’t require utensils and would be less of a mess.

Those kids started coming into what turned into Hoffman’s restaurant.

They still do. It’s something of a tradition, even for Wichitans who drive to Pratt for the food.

Hoffman retired his little red oven only when he sent it to Wichita, but his son says his dad never did slow down.

“He was running that to the last day.”