pizza 2

Local lifestyle columnists

Pepperoni, sauce, extra cheese evoke memories

By From page A2 | January 17, 2014

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].

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade

Discussion | 10 comments

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  • CD BrooksJanuary 17, 2014 - 6:55 am

    We like pizza and usually end up at Papa Murphy's. We like others as well, but my favorite will always be Roundtable. I've been going there for fifty years it still tastes the same and just walking in, the aroma always brings memories of those not-so-clear Friday nights!

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  • S KJanuary 17, 2014 - 7:34 am

    Round table used to be our favorite, even though their large pizza is everyone else's medium, & IMO costs too much. But one afternoon my Wife and I tried Eveyln's Big Italian Pizzaria, in downtown Fairfield, and we haven't been anywhere since, the absolute BEST PIZZA that we have every had. And if you are a MEAT guy like me, their Meat combo is heaven on Earth>>LOL. You can buy an entire pizza, but by the slice is perfect, so generous in size and toppings, you'll only eat one. The last time we were there I asked the owner about one of the paintings in the center room, asking if it were a real place, finding out it was. Now I can't wait to vacation there some time :-)

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  • S KJanuary 17, 2014 - 7:35 am

    TYPO ALERT: Meant, "EVER HAD." I guess I haven't had my pizza today>>LOL

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  • S KJanuary 17, 2014 - 7:20 pm

    Actually I fibbed slightly. Had been to a kids birthday thing at Chuck e Cheese, and surprisingly OK. But Evelyn's is the BEST, champion all around>>IMO :-)

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  • ?January 17, 2014 - 7:26 am

    I miss the Shrimp and Pineapple pizza Shakey's had.

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  • SixStrRzrJanuary 17, 2014 - 3:05 pm

    I enjoy Cenario's, in Cordelia. Great crust, price a little above chain stores, but the pies are good size with ample toppings. I like Mountain Mike's,too.

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  • PIZZA ! ................and NOTHING ELSE MATTERSJanuary 17, 2014 - 5:26 pm


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  • LyricsJanuary 17, 2014 - 5:30 pm


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  • Tony manero 1977 and me 2010 Saturday night fever / Pizza lenny'sJanuary 17, 2014 - 9:33 pm


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  • Rich GiddensJanuary 17, 2014 - 8:20 pm

    I liked those Turkish lamajun pizzas made with a pita bread crust that's smeared with a paste made of twice ground lamb, omion, red pepper flakes, parsley and garlic. Once that's cooked you can turn it into like a burrito by putting that gyros / doner kabob meat on top along with tomato, cucumber and tzaziki yogurt sauce on top.

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