Q&A with Johnny Nosich

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WHAT WAS YOUR ORIGINAL IDEA AND WHY DID YOU DEVELOP A PIZZERIA? WHY HIDDEN? WHY NOT AN ACTUAL RESTAURANT? The original idea was to serve quality food to our customers at Johnny’s Saloon. We’ve been in Huntington Beach for 16 years, and we love discovering creative ways to make our customers happy. Food was a naturally added feature. We searched for a few years for the right kitchen and when we found a pizza kitchen, we decided to go for it. The idea was to mix our family’s Croa- tian-style recipes and family meals with the Huntington Beach vibe and Johnny’s Rock n’ Roll n’ Country attitude. A pizza that is “Old Style, Rustic and Rad.”

We chose to keep the pizzeria hidden for a few reasons. The idea was to focus on feeding customers at The Saloon, so we didn’t need the dining room that came with the pizzeria. Without customers entering the Pizzeria, the staff could focus on quality and perfect pizzas. They could spend more time on each pizza and be mad scientists focusing on only one thing, “every pizza perfect.” No distractions, no customers, no servers, no rules, just loud rock n’ roll and an iPhone to receive orders. It simplified things.

DELIVERY OPTIONS? HOME AND WHICH BARS? WHAT HOURS? Our pizza makers rotate delivering pizzas to local bars, such as Perqs, Fitzgerald’s, Shanghai’d, Four Sons Brewery, Shooters, Kits, The Pen, and Johnny’s. We offer home delivery by UberEATS and a super duper secret, in-house delivery number for VIP’s in Huntington Beach. Occasionally, we share that special number on our social media.

Our pizza is available daily 3:17 pm – 12:01 am. When we’re outta dough, we close early, so we’ve been cutting back on availability through UberEATS.

WE NOTICED THAT THE BOX HAS A STAMP AND IS SIGNED. WHO SIGNS IT AND WHY? We choose to hand-stamp every box and have a few staff members rotate signing the boxes. Customers love it. Obviously, it shows a personal touch. But it was more about keeping the attention to detail throughout the perfect pizza making process. Investing time in each box. Writing your name on each box produces a connection for staff and the owners to each pizza and a certain accountability and ownership.

WHAT MAKES YOUR INGREDIENTS UNIQUE? Our tomatoes, olive oil, seasonings, and sea salt are unique to Johnny’s and are shipped from Croatia.

IS IT TRUE THAT VEGGIES FOR EACH PIZZA ARE CUT TO ORDER? All of our fresh veggies are cut when the order comes in. Basil, tomatoes, bell pepper, mushrooms and more. Even toppings that come prepared ahead of time have a hands-on approach. For example: We hand-tear whole pepperoncini to order. When the ticket for a pizza is given to a pizza maker, they call out which veggies they need cut or torn. The dough is hand “pushed” to order as well. No press, no rolling pin, no tools. It is pushed and shaped gently by hand, to order. This too creates a connection to EACH pizza. It is not only about freshness. This to us is a form of “old style”; how our immigrant parents and family members did things. HOW OFTEN DO YOU CHANGE THE MENU? We change the menu randomly and frequently. Some signature pizzas were taken off the menu and now exist on a per request basis. Customers just have to ask. We are currently working on developing a Croatian Sausage/Banana Pepper Pizza and a King Crab Pizza. We offer two sizes and a set price for each, no matter the number of toppings.

WHAT’S NEXT? We are working on a “Text Ahead Take Out” service. Everything we do is through text. The Saloon is 21 and older, so customers are asking for a take-out option.

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