The air was filled with laughter at Happy Joe's Tuesday for Rod Amiot's retirement and Brent Evenson's welcoming. People gathered to wish them both well and have a piece of cake. Happy Joe Whitty was even present to share the occasion with two of his favorite employees.

    The air was filled with laughter at Happy Joe's Tuesday for Rod Amiot's retirement and Brent Evenson's welcoming. People gathered to wish them both well and have a piece of cake. Happy Joe Whitty was even present to share the occasion with two of his favorite employees.    

    Evenson spoke about how grateful he was and how "it will be different from what I am used to." He cut and served cake to many attendees that afternoon, some who stopped by for just a quick hello.  

    Amiot walked around the room shaking hands and reminiscing about all the years that had passed. He mentioned that he would be doing a lot more golfing and was happy to retire. Amiot would, however, "miss the people, employees and good times."    

    Happy Joe Whitty greeted everyone who came into the restaurant that afternoon with a smile and an excited, "Welcome!" He encouraged all to come sit by him to chat about current events or how it used to be. Whitty used to have a bakery in Crookston where he would decorate wedding cakes, bake donuts and all types of goodies. Then he and a group of friends gathered together to open Happy Joe's Pizza and Restaurant. "I have made so many close friends here in Crookston and I love coming back," mentioned Whitty. He is currently finishing up his new home in Colorado after losing it to the wild fires two years ago.    

    Happy Joe's first restaurant was opened in 1972 in the Village of East Davenport, Iowa. After the restaurant had been open only a month, Joe began a custom he continued every year. "They closed the parlor for a day and gave a Christmas party for about 180 handicapped kids." The Crookston Happy Joe's opened in 1979 with Rod Amiot as the co-owner and head coach.