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December 2, 2009 > Restaurant Review: Pizza Patio

Restaurant Review: Pizza Patio

By Denny Stein

Where do you go for good homemade pizza in Fremont? Out to the Patio, of course... Pizza Patio. Owned by two local gentlemen who care about their pizza, their customers, and their community, Pizza Patio exemplifies good old-fashioned local business principles. Stuart Barton and Rob Prosch, along with partners Jeff and Sandra Reckers, believe in the personal touch. Stuart and Rob personally serve slices of pizza to families and friends who dine in their restaurant, trying out new topping combinations and asking for feedback.

We tried six different pizzas with no disappointments. There were classic pizza tastes, made with quality ingredients, fresh tomatoes, good olive oil, fresh sourdough and meaty pepperoni. And there were some surprises: the Mr. B, and the Vegetarian, charmed us with the pesto flavors of basil and pine nuts. Mr. B flaunted pepperoni and sausage along with mushrooms, cheese and garlic - this pizza was delicious with the creaminess of the sauce and deep flavors of meat. And then there were the pizzas we found surprisingly addicting: the Priesta and the Mr. Ed.

The sign of both a good business and a good cook is coming up with new ideas that work, rather than being quirky just for effect. The Mr. Ed Pizza is a Rob and Stuart bull's-eye. Suggested by Rob's neighbor, Ed Graham, the sourdough pizza crust is covered with chili, sliced hot dog, cheese, and red onion (optional). It's a simple, familiar and delicious taste combination that you just don't expect. But once you've had it, you'll be back for more, as will your children and your grandparents. Then Rob relates the story of a diner who turned up his nose at a slice of the Priesta Pizza, chili, salsa, cheese, beef, peppers, onions, olives, lettuce, tomato and tortilla chip pieces. But by the time Rob returned to the table, the slice of Priesta was all gone and the customer was ordering more of that "damn good pizza!"

Pizza Patio's dough is made fresh every day. The wondrousness of this fresh sourdough pizza crust is its history: it springs from a starter that harks back to the 1800s in Sicily, a true Italian piece of the pizza puzzle. And this crust really is something special; each crispy bite fills your mouth with the proverbial stuff of life, the pies are stable and manageable, not floppy or doughy, and none of that sourdough crust can be left on the plate, no matter how full you are.

Starting with that Sicilian sourdough crust, proofing, rising, and twirling each day, you can order it thick, thin, or traditional. Cover it with one of four sauces, from the classic red to tummy gentle creamy ranch, top it with your choice of vegetables, meats, and cheeses, or simply order the straight up timeless Pepperoni. Order from the menu, create your own, or suggest something totally new, Stuart and Rob are happy to ... well. they're just happy so you will be too.

Pizza Patio is a family place, so for the kids there's a Mini Arcade, child-size patio umbrella table and chairs, and mini size pizza, plus pasta, and the Patio Dog. For any non-pizza eaters in the family, there's a salad bar, soup, wings and rib tips. Add some garlicky, cheesy Patio Monster Bread, "definitely bad for you, definitely delicious," and it's a complete meal. Well, complete after you have dessert. Rob's wife, Cheri, is a pastry cook. Her amazing warm chocolate chip cookies and brownies, plus ice cream, really signal the end of the meal.

Feeding Fremont doesn't stop at the pizza ovens. Rob and Stuart also participate fully in feeding the community, in multiple ways. Fundraisers for youth teams, schools, and other worthy causes are frequent. There are several different ways to run your fundraiser, from designated fundraiser meals or hours, or the Pizza Patio Fundraiser Card, so drop in and talk to one of the guys. Thanksgiving Thursday, Pizza Patio transformed into a community dining hall - no pizza, but complimentary Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who needed it. This kind of giving makes us all thankful that Pizza Patio is part of our Tri-City neighborhood.

Whether working the front of the house or behind the scenes, the Patio staff runs a tight ship. They can turn out 125 pizzas in an hour because the kitchen is highly organized, clean, modern and professional. But if you want your food customized and personal, it will come out reflecting that kind of attention. The restrooms confirm the community spirit of the business, large and clean, with changing tables in both rooms, and complimentary diapers and baby wipes.

Pizza Patio also has a great website. Stuart writes a blog and answers questions, and you can sign up to personalize your page. The menu is posted, coupons can be printed, specials are noted, parties can be planned, and you can update your page, just like FaceBook, with comments and photos. You get the wrap-around pizza experience at Pizza Patio!

So stop by to take advantage of one of the many special deals, and have a fresh fast meal at lunch, or anytime. Be sure to pick-up the Punch for Lunch card and earn a free pizza, after nine visits. I'm going back for the Mr. Ed, it's addictive.


Visited November 12, 2009

Pizza Patio
Mowry East Shopping Center
39197 Farwell Drive
Fremont, CA 94538
510-790-1166
www.pizzapatio.com

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