For Jerry Baranowski, Owner of Bakersfield, CA Jerry's Pizza and Pub, opening his restaurant was an obvious choice when he arrived in the southern California desert city in 1992. With a secret recipe for pizza sauce and pizza dough inspired by old-fashioned Italian traditions, every pizza is baked on a traditional stone hearth oven that enhances the flavor of the pizza.
"When I arrived from Poland, my first job was managing a pizzeria," Baranowski says. "Coming from Eastern Europe, the idea that you can open any type of business that you like was very appealing to me. Since I had learned a lot about the pizza business on that job, I thought, 'I can do this.'"
From that can-do attitude came a menu complete with pizza, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, salads and classic Italian sides. Baranowski says the garlic chicken pizza is one of the most popular menu items with chicken, red onions, mushrooms and garlic sauce as toppings. Jerry's Pizza and Pub also has a selection of burgers, all at prices under $6.
Baranowski says the community loves coming in for the lunch menu, which frequently changes and also stays under that $6 price point. Sometimes it features two slices of pizza and a drink, and sometimes it's a cheeseburger or a calzone. For those looking for a weekend activity with friends, Jerry's Pizza and Pub features favorite imported and domestic beers to enjoy with live music.
"Not long after opening, I was approached by a local musician who asked if his band could play a show in my restaurant," Baranowski says. "Since then, music has been as much a part of Jerry's Pizza as the cheese and pepperoni. The under 21 crowd comes for the food and the music. We are one of the few venues that host all age shows. In fact, we have recently teamed up with the local Alt/Rock station (KRAB radio) to host some of their shows here. When they have musicians doing the circuit to promote their music, they call us."
Baranowski believes that with all the recipes in his restaurant, his recipe that mixes great food and entertainment is truly the winning one and what has brought success to the business for 25 years.