The story of Catalina Craft Pizza
When asked “Why pizza?” Catalina Craft Pizza (CCP) restaurant and pub owner Jeff Bridge will tell you “Everybody loves pizza”. Along with his daughter Madison, who runs the front of the house, and his son Alex the chef, CCP is truly a family run business. Their approach to the culinary art originates from Jeff’s co-ownership of Its Greek to Me a small Greek restaurant, also located in Catalina Pointe plaza. The approach is simple. Make as much as you can in house with the finest and freshest ingredients. Have the knowledge and care about what customers put into their bodies. As a result, Its Greek to Me climbed up to the #1 spot of all Tucson restaurants on TripAdvisor.com in August of 2015.
Fast forward to late summer of 2016 when the Italian restaurant known as Vitello’s was for sale. Jeff jumped on the opportunity because he had a secret weapon. The plaza landlord had operated an Italian pizzeria, which originally opened in 1954, and was voted the #1 pizza in the entire province of Canada for 20 years. “We knew we had to start with a proven product”, Jeff explains. “With Italian food it’s all about the gravy (sauce). And with pizza the crust is just as important, if not more. So we tell our customers that we craft from the bottom and they craft from the top (toppings).” Both recipes were modified to the delight of CCP customers. The pizza dough flour is imported from Naples, Italy and San Marzano tomatoes are the key ingredient in both the pizza sauce and the house marinara.
Jeff didn’t stop there. He knew that craft pizza must be paired with craft beer. While attending the inaugural Peppersauce Roundup in Oracle, Arizona, Jeff was introduced to one of the owners of Catalina Brewing Company (CBC). Borrowing from his career in the corporate world, Jeff created a presentation and pitched to the owners of CBC. The rest is history and today the CCP-CBC partnership is going strong. CCP offers ten CBC craft beers on tap and is the brewery’s largest distribution point.
Jeff wasn’t done. A lover of live music for most of his life, and being a concert promoter as his dream job, Jeff knew he wanted to offer live music at the new restaurant. Today, Catalina Craft Pizza has established itself as the northwestern-most venue for Tucson’s vibrant music scene. Some of the best musicians Tucson has to offer are on the rotation at CCP.
Finally, Jeff will tell you that the “fourth pillar” of the CCP foundational business model is to be a community partner. He is an avid believer that those you are fortunate to have a good life should be helping others that aren’t as fortunate. Jeff didn’t have to look far to find the first recipient for fundraising events, as IMPACT of Southern Arizona has a presence in Catalina Pointe plaza, including the food and clothing banks. Within the first year of business, CCP has raised over $1,500 for IMPACT. Today there are many organizations that benefit from fundraising events held at CCP.
KVOI Interview (3-3-2017)