A recent Domino’s Pizza commercial focused on how projects are often “powered by pizza.” The voice-over went:
“At Domino’s we take our job seriously because we know Americans order pizza when they are building, creating and innovating. Without pizza, school projects and music albums might go unfinished . . . start-ups unstarted . . . no one is coming up with a world-changing idea over halibut.”
In the ad, when halibut was mentioned, an actor spits out chunks of the fish in disgust. The Alaskan halibut industry was not amused.
Still, I get the point that Dominos was making. Pizza has powered many moments of building, creating and innovating and also many moments of just chillin’ with friends and family. Why, just the smell of pepperoni and cheese can often conjure up great memories.
Locally, Ricos’s Pizza, which used to be in the Mission Village Shopping Center (now where Walmart stands), was my family’s first choice, primarily because their pies were ginormous. My brothers and I attacked their 26-inch combination pizza with the ferocity of piranhas.
When I worked at Baskin-Robbins, my boss, Mary Minakata, would buy me and my co-workers food from Shakey’s Pizza to get us fueled up when it was time to tackle the huge job of cleaning the ice cream freezers. Their pizza? Awesome. Their mojo potatoes? Slap-yo-mama good.
From Sham’s to Shakey’s, from Round Table to Roadrunner and from Pietro’s to Professor’s – other locals shared memories of pizza places from the past:
Elizabeth Nessmith: Shakey’s was where the Armijo superband went after parades to “unwind.” Actually, it was a staging area to break up into TP-ing groups! Yeah. I got busted.
Tim Putz: Giovanni’s at the mall made the best sausage rolls for that Saturday morning hangover!
Barbara Ann McFadden: One of my first jobs was at Straw Hat Pizza in 1973 or ’74. It was located near Wonder World, where O’Reilly’s Auto Parts is now (sort of). I once refused to serve a guy his pitcher of beer until I saw all the IDs to go with the mugs. He got mad and picked up the pitcher and threw the full contents on me and stormed out, cussing. He was arrested.
Carl Lamera: When I was a freshman at Fairfield High, an upperclassman (to remain nameless) took me to Shakey’s after a football game. I told him that I didn’t have any money. He said he didn’t, either. When we got there he “social butterflied” from table to table handing me a piece of pizza from time to time. I have never been so full on pizza that I didn’t pay for . . . well, at least up to that point.
Sue Berkheimer Steffen: Shakey’s occasionally for pizza and root beer; Rico’s almost daily for Pac-Man; then Thrifty’s for ice cream!
Mary Gould: When I was pregnant with my daughter, her father used to drive all the way from Napa to get me a vegetarian, no bell peppers, with fresh tomato and garlic pizza from Vittorio’s. As well he should if he knew what was best for him!
Cabral Loretta: I worked at the mall and I only made $4.25 an hour so when I got my paycheck, I would treat myself to Sbarro’s. I thought it was a fancy restaurant.
Bart Greathouse: I played on Sham’s Little League team. We didn’t win much, but always had a pizza party when the season was over.
Doug Rodgers: I used to play men’s softball for Round Table, but went to Pietro’s No. 1 after games because they gave us a better deal on beer and pizza.
Jennifer Engell Matcham: Rod’s Pizza in Suisun! My brother worked there and I spent hours playing games and watching the biggest TV in the county at the time!
Cynthia Garcia: My sister, Sylvia Garcia, used to work at Rico’s Pizza. I used to call in a fake pizza order near closing time, which I’d never pick up since I was a youngster with no driver’s license. The pizza just happened to have all of my sister’s favorite toppings. When the restaurant closed for the night and no one picked up the pizza, my sister got to take it home. Amazing how that worked!
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at [email protected].