Gila Bend pizzeria plays host to Prince Harry

By Jennifer Thomas

GILA BEND, Ariz. -- Gila Bend's Little Italy Restaurant is busy most Friday nights and most don't make reservations. But on Friday, when someone called in a reservation for 30 people, it got staff curious about who they'd be serving.

"When everyone noticed, everyone thought it was something special, but nobody knew," Josie Villagas said.

She was waitressing that day when her suspicions proved true. The restaurant had its brush with British royalty.

"When Prince Harry got here, everybody was like, 'Oh My God! Yeah, it's him!'" she said.

Prince Harry, in plain clothes, showed up with a slew of military buddies, likely on break from their Apache Helicopter training nearby. Villagas said he tried to be discrete with a hat and a sweater partially covering his face.

He and his friends grabbed a seat in the back corner and ordered up a Meat Lovers pizza, with Italian sausage, ham, bacon and pepperoni. Even though the restaurant was packed, Villagas wanted the prince to eat in peace.

"I talked with my customers, I said, 'Please, don't bother him. Don't try to take a picture because I know they don't want it.' And they respected this," she said.

When the group was through, Villagas said she gathered up her courage to say thanks.

"I moved closer to him and I said, 'Thank you, and thank you for choosing this place to come and eat in here,'" she said.

What the prince gave her in return was a great compliment, and perhaps a new slogan.

"He said the pizza they ate was the best pizza to eat in the world," Villagas said, proudly.

That's pretty good... coming from royalty!

The waitress said one girl did go up to Prince Harry and ask for a picture or his autograph. She said he very kindly told her he couldn't, that he was not allowed to as part of his position training here. Still, she has an exciting story to tell. And the waitress was sure to invite them back as long as they're here.

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