By TERESA HAMMOND
Bob and Monica Willey know their pizza and they’re excited by the opportunity to share it with the community of Oakdale.
Earlier this month the husband/wife team watched three months of hard work celebrated as they opened the doors to Gold Dust Pizza. Located at 830 N. Yosemite Ave. on the north end of town, the new pizza parlor offers a welcoming, family oriented environment. Hours of operation are Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“My husband opened Ripon Pizza Plus in 1984,” Monica Willey stated.
The couple continues to own that location as well as Pizza Plus Sutter Creek, which they opened in 2011.
Willey also shared that Bob retired from the business 10 years ago, placing her in the primary position of being the face of the family business. He continues to handle much of the ‘behind the scenes’ operation.
“We’ve been together for 20 years and married almost 17,” she said.
Willey shared her love and passion for the restaurant business emphasizing the couple’s belief in family and a family friendly environment.
“My number one thing is customer service,” Willey said. “I tell our workers it’s not about our experience it’s about our customers’ experiences. I’m very strict. You’ll have fun (on staff) because we’re a family, but not because you’re not taking care of our customers.”
The addition of the new pizza parlor to town has created jobs for 28 new hires.
“We put it on Facebook,” she said of their hiring, “and within two days we hired our entire staff. We’re just really happy with the attitudes and the personalities (of the staff).
“Kids are just automatically respectful here,” she added. “The move over here from Ripon is seamless with us being a family business and we’re family oriented.”
For the pizza lover familiar with Pizza Plus Ripon, they will not be disappointed with Gold Dust Pizza, as much of the menu and offerings are the same.
A few items have been added to the menu, but the quality, freshness and sourdough crust are uniquely the same.
“We’re really proud of our recipes and really proud of our workers,” Willey stated. “We don’t skimp on quantity. We want to give the best quality food. It’s all about the customer experience.”
The 3200 square foot location can accommodate 85 eat-in customers. Custom booths were built, creating a cozy ambiance. TV’s hosting sporting events are placed throughout the parlor, minus the sound.
“We play big band music,” she said of the background sound, which fills the parlor. “It sets a certain feel.”
“We don’t deliver,” the business owner added, “because we want you to come in. I want the elderly couple to be as comfortable as the family of five watching football.”
Though the doors have been open just a short time, the owner is excited about the start.
“We’re very pleased,” Wiley summarized of their first weeks opened in their newest location. “We’re very blessed.”