Things have really changed since I graduated from Waukee with a class of 77 people. University was a gravel road, and you could ride your bike on Hickman, Hwy 6, to Adel to go swimming. One thing that hasn't changed, Alice's Road. From just east of the high school, on the now paved four-lane called SE University Ave, you turn north at the stoplight where the sign reads SE Alice's Road. There was a debate about changing the name of Alice's Road, but the uproar from the longtime Waukee residents wouldn't have it. Why?
Alice's Spaghetti Land had been a fixture of Waukee since Alice Nezzi opened the restaurant in 1949 as a Mom and Pop Italian restaurant on the dirt road in the barren northeast side of Waukee. Alice's family immigrated here to work in the Shuler mine. They employed many of the women of the coal mining community and many from town, including my mom. Alice worked at the restaurant into her 80's. Her nephew, Jim Nizzi, took over most of the operations in the '90s and continued until it closed in 2004. Jim still prepares the special recipes for special occasions like the Waukee Historical Society's Annual Alice's Night.
What's in a name? In this instance, it's the local history of a woman and her family that served the families of the Shuler mine area and grew into a local favorite for the Waukee area.