Inside Marty O's Pizzeria on a recent afternoon, owner Marty Ochoa was making the rounds talking to customers and wiping tables. Waitresses in black-and-white striped, referee-style uniforms served topping-laden pizza to the lunch crowd — a mixture of families, locals and business workers taking a break.
The new eatery on Main Street has the casual vibe and eclectic menu of a diner, and the beer selection and decor of a sports bar, but with only one small TV screen. As his first restaurant venture, Ochoa says he is still learning the business every day, along with his staff of 18, the majority of whom had no prior restaurant experience.
"I jumped in with two feet," said Ochoa, who made the move from catering and vending to the new brick-and-mortar business.
Ochoa designed the menu to include pizza, burgers, pasta and even smoothies, and says that customers have noted their appreciation for the variety. But Marty O's is still a work in progress, and the customers seem to be aware, as well as forgiving. "People let things slide," said Ochoa.
With his name above the door, Ochoa plans on spending plenty of time around the restaurant daily to support the staff and get to know the diners — as well as deal with some of the problems that have arisen since the doors opened at Marty O's.
At the soft launch on June 5, the restaurant had a difficult time keeping up with the crowd of customers. Diners faced a long wait, and some simply left. Space is an issue, says Ochoa. The kitchen is small, with barely enough room to store the 18 types of pizza toppings in the walk-in refrigerators. The restaurant also only has one bathroom.
But the community is supportive of the local business, Ochoa says, even though reviews have been mixed. The restaurant's Facebook page is filled with encouraging messages and appreciation for the pizza, empenadas and deep-fried dill pickle spears. Marty O's will celebrate its grand opening Thursday, June 21 at 5:30 p.m.
Have you tried Marty O's Pizzeria? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.