Santa Maria Sun / Biz Brief
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 29
Spotlight on: Wild West Pizza and Grill
BY AMY ASMAN
Hanging on the wall at Wild West Pizza and Grill in Lompoc is an autographed photo of Stuart Whitman. Best known for playing Marshal Jim Crown in the 1960s TV Western Cimarron Strip, Whitman also owns the shopping center in which the restaurant is located.
“When he found out it was going to have a Western theme, he was excited,” restaurateur David Goldy said.
In addition to the portrait of Whitman, there are numerous photos of other cowboy actors, including John “The Duke” Wayne. But not all of the cowboys are pretending. Goldy also has some photos of the real deal—local herdsmen branding their cattle—that he got from the Lompoc Historical Society.
Goldy is intimately familiar with both kinds of cowboys. His wife Natalie Linini’s family owns a large ranch just outside of Guadalupe.
“They were Santa Maria pioneers,” Goldy said, adding that the house on the ranch—the house his wife was born in—was built in 1907.
Before moving to the Central Coast, Goldy managed a Pizza Hut in Malibu, where one of his frequent customers was the mustachioed Sam Elliot of Tombstone and The Big Lebowski.
But if Goldy were on a trail ride himself, he’d probably be more comfortable manning the chuck wagon than lassoing cattle.
The longtime pizza man got his start in the business at the age of 15 as a dishwasher and then pizza cook for a mom ’n’ pop Italian restaurant in Simi Valley. He continued making pizza in college, and then moved into management with Pizza Hut. About two months ago, he added business owner to that list when he bought Westside Pizza’s Lompoc location and decided to go independent.
Goldy said his mission at Wild West Pizza is “to serve the best, highest-quality pizza in town.”
Great pizza starts with great ingredients, so Goldy is definitely headed on the right track. Wild West’s pizza dough is made in-house each day, and all of its produce comes fresh from a local organic grower.
“And we use real mozzarella cheese,” Goldy said. “One of the things you might not know about the pizza business is that a lot of the chains add starches and other fillers to their mozzarella so it will stretch farther. They’ll say it’s fresh, but it’s really not.”
He said the meats he uses don’t have any fillers in them either, and Wild West’s ground beef comes from hormone-free cows.
“I love pizza … and it shows,” Goldy said, slapping his hand against his stomach. “It’s one of those feel-good foods. It’s universally loved and it puts a smile on everyone’s face.”
He mentioned an inspirational speech he heard from one of his supervisors at Pizza Hut.
“He said, ‘You guys probably think you just manage a pizza place, and that’s not much, but that’s not true,’” Goldy said.
He recalled the man talking about the impact Pizza Hut employees have on families, specifically on working mothers who come home and are too tired to cook, but want a nutritious meal for their kids, so they order a pizza.
“People were in tears at the end,” Goldy said.
He carries on that tradition at his storefront at 1137 North H St. and at Cabrillo High School, where he and his employees sell fresh pizza to students out of a catering truck. He’s also going to start selling pizza at all of Lompoc High School’s home football games.
Wild West Pizza and Grill is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. There is a $5 lunch buffet every weekday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The buffet comes out again on Wednesday night, Military Night, during which active military personnel get a “buy one pizza, get one free” discount and people with 20 years of service or more eat for free.
For more information, call 735-4000 or visit facebook.com/wildwestpizza.
Managing Editor Amy Asman wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.
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