It’s only been open for a couple of months following a soft opening in May, but already one of the newest members of the Lakeport Chamber of Commerce, Juicy’s Pizza near Library Park has developed a steady following and costumer base at their two-story location on Park Street according to the new business owners.
Created by a couple of longtime friends and bakers, Keith Giusto and Amy Hinson, the family run business prides itself in milling its own flour from farmers they know and they make it a point to use a sourdough that’s fermented for 72 hours. Pizzas are made in house with organic flour which the owners say results in a distinctive unique flavorful option.
The process of obtaining flour from farmers familiar to them is unusual for a restaurant, but one which comes natural to Hinson and her staff of nine to 10 employees.
“We are bread bakers, we have always worked with sourdough culture,” she said explaining the origins of the business and preference for the sourdough used as the basis for their pizza.
The pizzeria’s location appealed to Hinson’s family as a place to start a business and integrate itself into the community.
“Lake County is a perfect place for it, the location is excellent and there is no pizza quite like this in this area,” said Hinson. Meticulous attention to their ingredients, vegan options and a friendly inviting atmosphere adds to the dining experience which the owners said they want to be relaxed and informal.
“We wanted to create a bit of a hang-out where people can come have some fun, a pizza joint where you can get off your boat and swim trunks and come in and enjoy our food. I think for the most part, people have been receptive to our specialty brand of pizza,” said Hinson. “It’s not a build your own type of place, but we do offer a lot of options and there are some options that people haven’t tried before. We make our pizza with fresh ingredients which are not always found in the area.”
For instance, pizza that is made fresh daily with a cream base instead of a tomato base was interesting to people, she said.
“We’re very picky about using fresh ingredients,” said Hinson. “It’s very important to us.”
Hinson said the most challenging thing is getting the best ingredients they can find in north county.
“We continue to secure local vegetables and things like heirloom tomatoes. We are looking forward to some nice products this summer season and we are excited to be able to change items seasonally.”
Juicy’s offers customers a choice between the traditional red style tomato based pizzas and white style pizza which are cream based or cheese and olive oiled based.
According to Hinson, the restaurant’s tribute pizzas pay homage to world champion pizza maker Tony Gemignani who is said to be an inspiration and to Nancy Silverton who is renown for her recipes popularizing sourdough and artisan breads in the United States.
“Nancy’s favorite is a tribute to Silverton, she is a very talented chef from Italy. We tried her style of pizza and we loved it so we added it to our menu,” said Hinson.
Hinson met her business partner Giusto in Austin at Dutch Regale bakery in 1990 where she was working as a baker and he was the flour miller. He came to the bakery to teach her how to make Sourdough.
After Whole Foods Market bought Dutch Regale bakery she moved to Los Angeles in 1996 to open an artisan bakery to support their stores in Southern California. At that bakery Giusto continued as her flour miller, they kept in touch and developed a working relationship that continues to this day.
Hinson said she also spent time in Los Angeles working for La Boulange, a San Francisco based bakery group.
In July of 2017, Hinson and her partner Marinda Scott moved to Lake County to begin building the pizzeria.
“Working with Whole Foods you are immersed in the best food in the world, you can’t get enough of it. I fell in love with wood fire ovens and working with specific ingredients,” said Hinson adding that Giusto shares her passion for making great tasting pizza.
In addition to pizza, the restaurant menu offers salads, sandwiches on ciabatta bread made in house with organic flour and served with kettle chips and various other snacks and specials.
Juicy’s Pizza is open 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and closed Mondays and Tuesdays.