It didn't take long for Pleasure Point locals to discover—and begin appreciating—the newest restaurant in their community.
"I'm stoked on it," said Dylan Moon. Pleasure Pizza East Side Eatery opened Feb. 4 on Capitola's 41st Avenue, kitty-corner to the original Pleasure Pizza outlet on the corner of Portola Drive and 41st.
Moon, who works at Billabong Surf Shop next door to the new restaurant, enjoyed a meal there a few days after the restaurant opened for business. "It's definitely good, and they offer a lot more than just pizza. Finally, we have somewhere we can go grab something quick for lunch," he said.
The restaurant, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, occupies the space that used to house Hank's at the Hook. Derek Rupp, who bought the original Pleasure Pizza restaurant last March from longtime owner Steve Irving, jumped at the chance to open another restaurant after Hank's closed suddenly last November. Business at the popular pizza parlor was so good that Rupp wanted to add another location, with a complete menu to offer diners, he said.
"I was looking to expand, because I was busting out of the seams" at the pizza parlor, said the former executive chef at the Google campus in Mountain View. "I happened to be at the right place at the right time."
A friendly, high-energy man who looks much younger than his 38 years, Rupp worked at a number of popular restaurants, including Bittersweet Bistro, Tortilla Flats, Zachary's and Black's Beach Cafe before joining Google 10 years ago. Rupp began his cooking career in his mother's kitchen, making pancakes for his family before he learned to read. He has long been drawn to restaurant business.
"I loved the whole experience of feeding people, talking to people (while they eat) and the whole sense of community" around it, Rupp said.
The original Pleasure Pizza restaurant, where customers can saunter up to the counter for fresh slices or call in for delivery, remains open. A vast array of pizzas also are on the menu at the new restaurant, which offers table service and a full wine and beer bar, along with a wide variety of gourmet items. Breakfast, which is served daily until noon, includes classic favorites like eggs, omelets, pancakes, French toast and breakfast burritos, along with blintzes and house specialties like polenta, gumbo and fried Indonesian rice.
The lunch and dinner menus also include some other dishes that originated throughout the Pacific Rim, such as Vietnamese Pho soup and chilled Somen noodles, as well as chili, gourmet sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, appetizers and, of course, pizzas.
"The menu is eclectic, because California is very diverse," Rupp explained. "We have all these wonderful ingredients close by" that are incorporated in the dishes.
To ensure everything is fresh, Rupp shops locally for produce, purchasing ingredients from suppliers within 150 miles of Pleasure Point.
The restaurant is a good addition to the Pleasure Point business community, said people who work nearby.
"It seems to draw a cool crowd," said Bennie Giattino, who works with Moon at Billabong. "I'm figuring it will bring in more business to the surf shop."
Pleasure Pizza Eastside Eatery is at 800 41st Ave., and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.