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The Queen of the Pizza King (VIDEO)

Gwen+Hunt%2C+owner+of+Pizza+King%2C+cracks+a+smile+Wednesday%2C+Dec.+7%2C+2016%2C+at+the+local+bar+in+Carbondale.+Hunt+has+owned+the+bar%2C+more+commonly+known+as+PK%27s%2C+for+61+years.+%28Jacob+Wiegand+%7C+%40jawiegandphoto%29
Gwen Hunt, owner of Pizza King, cracks a smile Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, at the local bar in Carbondale. Hunt has owned the bar, more commonly known as PK's, for 61 years. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Gwen Hunt, owner of Pizza King, cracks a smile Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, at the local bar in Carbondale. Hunt has owned the bar, more commonly known as PK's, for 61 years. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Gwen Hunt, owner of Pizza King, cracks a smile Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, at the local bar in Carbondale. Hunt has owned the bar, more commonly known as PK's, for 61 years. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

By Jacob Wiegand

Pizza is the one thing a bar patron can’t find at Pizza King.

Eighty-two-year-old Gwen Hunt has been running the local bar, more commonly known as PK’s, for 61 years.

“My ex-husband and I introduced pizza to Carbondale,” she said. “We started out the first pizza place in Carbondale.”

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However, around the mid-1970s, Hunt said, more and more businesses “got on the pizza wagon.”

That’s when they decided to drop the pizza and go completely to a bar. But they kept the name.

“I think it’s the only local or corner bar in Carbondale,” she said.

Lining the wall behind the bar, one can find personalized mugs owned by many of the bar’s patrons. The mugs sit under a carved-wooden sign of Hunt with her arms stretched in an open embrace. The sign reads, “All my children.”

“All the people that own the mugs there, it’s like all of my children,” she said. “I treasure that, I really do.”

Hunt said she sees “all walks of life” in her bar.

“If you come here and you can’t find a friend, pretty sad,” she said.

Hunt came to Carbondale from her home in Metropolis to attend school, eventually married and started a family.

“I had no idea what I was going to do with my life,” she said. “No plans for my world and it just all fit together. … It’s been a wonderful trip through this world here in Carbondale.”

Photo column by managing editor Jacob Wiegand. He can be reached at jwiegand@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @jawiegandphoto.

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