🍕 A Visit to Perry's Pizza
The team took an adventure to Perry's Pizza in Huntington Beach. There we had the pleasure of speaking with the owners, Dawn and Jess, and trying some of their Sicilian-style coal-fired pizza!
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A Visit to Perry’s
🍕 Sicilian Pizza Square
📸 @perryspizza & @thefoodiemaps_
📍 Perry’s Pizza - Huntington Beach
This week’s issue is about Perry’s Pizza in Huntington Beach (off Brookhurst and Hamilton). This pizzeria has a long and interesting history in OC’s beach cities. Last week, the team had the pleasure of visiting and speaking with the owners, Dawn and Jess. We enjoyed learning about the ins and outs of their history as well as the original dough recipe and coal-fired oven that make their pizzas so unique.
Let’s get to it!
📖 The Story
From movies, to the Newport Pier, to a Huntington Beach favorite.
You may recognize the Perry’s logo from the 1982 hit movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. In the 60s and 70s, Perry’s Pizza was an emerging pizza chain throughout Southern California. Unfortunately, the chain eventually lost out to the pizza behemoths of today, like Dominos. Each Perry’s Pizza location was sold off and became independently owned and operated. Today, the chain’s legacy lives on as a few restaurants still carry the Perry’s name, logo, and brand. One of these locations has withstood the test of time and become a local spot beloved by HB locals: Perry’s Pizza on Brookhurst and Hamilton.
In 1973, Perry’s Pizza opened right by the Newport Pier serving their unique Sicilian-style squares to nearby beachgoers. In the following decades, Perry’s became a Newport Peninsula staple, known for their crazy beer-in-a-milk-jug 4th of July tradition. Jess Bingaman, a local resident, began his culinary career working at the restaurant. There, he worked ruthlessly to perfect his pizza technique to bring in as many customers as possible. In 1996, he would purchase the restaurant when the original owners were ready to retire.
Jess and his wife Dawn continued to improve and grow Perry’s with many additions and modifications to the menu. By the 2010s, the Newport Peninsula had changed quite a bit since Perry’s had opened. Gone were the original crab cookers and small bars that had once dominated the area. In 2015, the Newport staple relocated to Huntington Beach. The people of Huntington welcomed the new family-owned eatery with open arms and for Perry’s, HB was the beginning of a new era.
🍕 The Food
“Our philosophy with food is different… It’s all about cravability”
- Jess Bingaman, Owner of Perry’s Pizza.
During our interview, Jess’s true passion for making pizza became apparent. When we asked what set the food at Perry’s apart, the owners were ready to tell us about Perry’s unique food philosophy. Jess told us that when they design a new cuisine for their menu, they try to do things right. For example, using whole olives on their pizzas or giant chunks of pineapple no matter the costs, simply because it makes for a better pizza. They also make an overwhelming majority of their food in-house, including their sauce, meatballs, and original dough recipe.
Sicilian-style: A variety of cheesy pizza squares which sit on inch-thick dough. The dough is made to have a crunchy bottom and an airy interior.
Now, let’s talk about Perry’s most famous menu items, which as you might have guessed, are their pizzas! Perry’s offers a wide variety of pizzas, all cooked in their Long Island-imported coal-fired oven, which are seldom found outside of the East Coast. Their classic Sicilian-style pizza started everything for the restaurant. We especially enjoyed the light puffy crust on which the pizza sat. On the first bite, it was evident that the dough was homemade and engineered to perfection. The dough was thick, but not dense. Sicilian pizza squares are a rarity in Southern California and I would certainly recommend the unique experience to any pizza lovers out there.
Perry’s has managed to stay a community favorite for over 40 years thanks to their ongoing innovation. Additions to the menu are frequent and Perry’s has been able to design a menu that caters to all audiences. One of their more recent additions we tried was The Rocket, a bacon and prosciutto thin-crust pizza topped with arugula, red onion, and cherry tomato. As my pizza-expert friend Jack always says, “The dough can make or break the pizza.” In the case of The Rocket, the dough had the right amount of crunch in every bite followed by a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. At first, I was skeptical of a greens mixture put on top of a pizza, but I found that the light vegetables really helped balance out the saltiness from the globs of prosciutto and bacon. I realized that it all goes back to Perry’s food philosophy. The Rocket was a creative cuisine that offered large portion sizes without sacrificing dish cohesiveness or taste.
We of course finished our meal with some dessert. We tried Perry’s home-baked cookies: chocolate chip and white chocolate macadamia nut. Both were a perfect ending to our meal and it’s no wonder they sell their raw cookie dough as well as packaged cookies to-go.
The Story Continues
As I mentioned before, the restaurant’s menu is always evolving while preserving the classics. I would describe Perry’s strategy as “consistency meets innovation.” With the modern addition of gluten-free and vegan options, it’s clear that Perry’s is here to stay and will continue to grow as a local favorite in the years to come.
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🤝 The Community
All around their website, you can read about the Perry’s family. When visiting, I was able to see Perry’s 21 members in action. The work atmosphere was very positive with many workers smiling. When speaking with Dawn, I was able to hear about the many amazing contributions that have been made by Perry’s employees. Workers at Perry’s are often involved in changes to the menu. The team comes together to create and refine new menu additions and modifications.
The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on many SoCal restaurants. Thanks to great community support and smart planning, Perry’s Pizza was able to combat the effects of the pandemic on their business and remain open.
Last year, the employees of Perry often had socially distanced meetings in the parking lot to discuss and brainstorm strategies to try and stay one step ahead of the pandemic. This certainly paid off because by the time the shutdown started, Perry’s had already established the infrastructure and got the word out about their curbside pickup.
🏖️ A Huntington Beach Staple
When Perry’s relocated to Huntington Beach in 2015, the HB community welcomed them with open arms. Perry’s has quickly become a staple of the HB community offering onsite fundraisers and gift cards to our schools and organizations. I originally discovered Perry’s from the many dedicated local fans on the HB Foodie Facebook Group.
✨ What’s Next for Perry’s?
The future is bright for this local pizza spot. Dawn and Jess were thrilled to tell us that Perry’s 2.0 is in the works. Recently, Perry’s was able to purchase one of their next-door neighbors and is in the process of expanding their restaurant. When the new addition is complete, it will feature a full-sized bar with 16 local beers on tap and additional patio seating. This expansion will bring Perry’s to greater heights than ever before.
Dawn also gave us some exclusive news:
Perry’s will be offering breakfast on weekends in the near future!
Both of these plans will certainly make Perry’s a larger and more integral part of our HB community.
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