Immigrating to the U.S. from South Korea in 1982, Chi grew up in Colorado, where he met his wife, Chungbin. After feeling a calling to the ministry, he moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to receive divinity training from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Following his graduation, Chi left what he felt was his hometown to pursue a career as a pastor. His work in ministry led to pastor jobs in Virginia and Memphis, where he lived for over six years.
In 2019, however, Chi said his career began to change when Chungbin was diagnosed with dementia. Chi said he decided to move back to the metroplex to live close to his two eldest sons, including one who lives in Plano.
When he returned to the Dallas area, Chi looked for a way to support his family while also having enough flexibility to take care of his wife.
After a recommendation from its previous owner, he bought the Palio’s Pizza Cafe in Richardson in February 2021. The cafe located near The University of Texas at Dallas campus has been operating for over 15 years. Because of its location, Palio’s finds its most popular pizzas often cater to the college crowd. Among the favorites is the Lazy Texan BBQ Chicken pizza.
Unlike some other places, Palio’s specializes in thin crust pizza. Chi said he was worried about how popular thin crust would be, but was reassured when one of his sons said he loved the pizza at its Plano location.
“Now that I’ve been testing our pizza 2-3 times a week, I can never go back to the old style,” Chi said.
Working a few hours per week to take care of his wife, Chi said he is glad to maintain a strong relationship with the two managers who have worked at Palio’s since he bought the restaurant.
1469 W. Campbell Road
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.