“This place was kind of dead when we took it over three months ago,” said Harrison. “People knew Straw Hat was here, but they’d been brainwashed over the years to not associate the restaurant with quality service. So when we took it over, we wanted to mold it into something new, and now people are rediscovering the Discovery Bay Straw Hat, and we hear it all the time. People are so surprised with the changes we’ve made. They thank us for making this a fun, family-friendly place to eat and hang out.”
In addition to revamping the dining area and expanding the menu, Harrison and Deal have taken a more community-minded approach to selling pizza. They want to offer more than quality food – they want to get in touch with the life of Discovery Bay.
“We really want to be involved with the community,” said Deal. “We’d like to be involved with the schools and the youth sports teams. When we expanded the staff, we hired locally, and we also buy from local vendors. All our produce is grown locally and we sell locally produced wines. We want to keep the people from our community in business. We want to be a good neighbor, so we’re very open to helping out wherever we can.”
Deal and Harrison, who have been friends for 10 years, recently purchased a trailer to take their popular pizzas on the road to parties in the park or to local sports events. They also want to help with local fundraisers and community events. To learn more about Straw Hat Pizza’s community outreach, call 925-634-3555.
The new restaurateurs also got the community involved with the creation of the new menu. The salad bar needed a makeover, so when it came to choosing new ingredients, Deal and Harrison asked their customers what they’d like to see added or taken away. “The taste of the community helps shape what we sell,” said Deal. “We want to offer the things they like, so their input is invaluable.”
Other changes to Straw Hat include a new TV system, which includes a digital projector so that customers may play their own DVDs, such as a photo slideshow for a birthday party or a highlight reel from a little league game.
“The atmosphere has completely changed,” Harrison said. “We see a lot of smiling faces and kids laughing and having a good time. That’s the best part of the job – making people happy. We’re really lucky to find this success this early on. We thought it’d take at least six to nine months – maybe even a year – to be this successful, but the community has come out to support us and we’re very grateful.”
To thank the community for its support, Discovery Bay Straw Hat offers a variety of deals, from coupons to all-you-can-eat lunch specials. If you text “SHDB” to 69302, you’ll receive a coupon to use during your next visit, and you’ll receive texts about monthly specials and other promotions.
Straw Hat Pizza also offers delivery of all items that appear on the menu, including pastas, sandwiches and subs.
The Discovery Bay Straw Hat Pizza, located at 14870 Highway 4, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Saturday; and 1 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 925-634-3555 or visit www.strawhatpizza.com.