The story of Pizza California


Like most kids in America, I loved pizza when I was little. What made me different is that I REALLY loved pizza.

When I was a kid, going out to eat was something we did only on special occasions. Both of my parents are native Californians (going back four generations on mom’s side), so eating out also meant exploring the diverse food and culture of our state. Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and Indian food: I loved it all.

But to me, hearing that it was pizza night was the best of all. I remember almost shaking with anticipation as the family drove to the 1970s style pizza parlor. There was a glass wall and a platform where kids could press against the glass and watch in awe as round sheets of white dough went spinning in the air.

And when the cook pulled out a bubbling golden pie from the oven, the air was filled with the smell of oregano, mozzarella, and salami that made your mouth water. To me, it was heaven.

When it was my time to get my own job, I knew what I wanted to do. We had moved to a new town and there was a great little pizza place that I could walk to. Naturally, I got a job there as soon as I was old enough. It was a wonderful job; both the coworkers and the customers became like a second family. Before long, I knew that I wanted to have my own pizza restaurant someday.

Pizza California

And so, with a lot of help, in 1997 I opened Pizza California. Named after the state where my family has lived for five generations, we wanted to take the best of all the local, delicious food I had loved as a kid and put a new twist on it here and there, always using the best and freshest locally abundant ingredients.

We also wanted to make sure that we had a clean, comfortable and fun restaurant to serve up our delicious creations. So, Pizza California was designed to be a place that could become a fixture in the community for families, friends and even the local workforce, people who want a quick lunch but don’t want to compromise on freshness or flavor.

Just as it was over 20 years ago when we first opened, my goal is that Pizza California is this: we will be the place that a few of today’s kids love so much that, just like me, they will be overcome with anticipation when they hear those magic words: “Pizza Night!”

-Tony Brierly