Local Vendor Profile: Golden Boy Pizza
The Golden Boy foccacia pizza, a famous North Beach-style original, is a favorite amongst Sigona’s customers
By Carmelo Sigona
In July we offered you a free quiche, a new product from our longtime local vendor Gary Dielissen, owner of Golden Boy Pete/zza. The quiche coupon generated such a spectacular response that we, along with Gary, decided to offer his flagship product: North Beach-style focaccia gourmet Pete/zza.
A pizza made with a thick foccacia bread is very Italian…Sicilian even…so we’re all the more excited to share this with you. Plus, October is national pizza month! So, with your coupon next week, you can pick up your very own fresh-baked focaccia pizza topped with Roma tomatoes, fresh spinach, yellow onions, black olives, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese when you spend $30 or more!
Gary’s pizza reminds me of the wonderful tastes of Sicilian pizza: foccacia bread dressed simply with green onions, salt, pepper and, of course, olive oil. I had my first encounter with commercial pizza when I was in high school and remember I was shocked at the difference…all you could taste was the cheese. The Golden Boy pizza, though, takes me back to the simple style of my childhood, and it’s delicious simplicity explains its popularity throughout the Bay Area.
Golden Boy Pete/zza originated at the Golden Boy Pizza restaurant, which is still in operation in the North Beach area of San Francisco. Julio Sodini, the original restaurant owner, called the dish Pete/zza after his son, Peter, and the pizza became so well-known throughout the city that the restaurant started a wholesale business to deliver to pizza to retail locations.
The wholesale end came up for sale for same about 25 years ago, and Gary, who had been in the market for a new career as a result of the onset of the 1980s economic slump, made the purchase. Gary kept Pete/zza as the name for the foccacia pizza and has been delivering to various local business ever since.
“I worked in home construction, which took a hard hit during the economic slump of the 1980s, and I decided it was time to get out of that atmosphere to make a change,” said Gary. “I didn’t even know how to wash dishes when I took on the Golden Boy wholesale business, but I knew that even during a recession, food is something that’s steady and secure. Fortunately, my brother was a restaurant manager, at the time, so he was able to lend some industry expertise.”
Gary was right about food being secure…25 years later, he’s still with Golden Boy. His wife, Lesley, and son, Clay, also help operate the business.
Our longtime customers, those who have been shopping at the Redwood City store since we were mostly an outdoor produce market, will likely remember large stacks of Gary’s Golden Boy pizza for sale just outside the cash registers.
“Gary has sold his pizza at Sigona’s for more than 15 years, and we have customers who come in solely for this product on a regular basis,” said John Nava, Sigona’s specialty foods buyer. “It’s an easy, quick treat that’s great hot or cold, making it perfect for lunch in the office or dinner for movie night with the kids.”
Golden Boy Pete/zza can be served at room temperature (the traditional Italian way) or it can be heated in a conventional oven for 8-10 minutes. Some people prefer to microwave it, making the bread softer and more chewy.
“The pizza goes well with a green salad or even cut up for an hors d’œuvre, and you can’t go wrong when it’s paired with a nice Chianti,” said Gary. “For a family-style spread, pair the pizza with small plates of heirloom tomatoes and a pungent olive oil, a variety of fresh cut vegetables, and cured Italian meats, such as prosciutto, coppa, Bresaola or cotto salami.”
Remember to print the coupon from the e-newsletter to get your free Pete/zza with a purchase of $30 or more. The coupon is valid from Sept. 29 – Oct. 5th.