Heart and Soul in Pizza Place
by Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald (3/5/2009)
The Pizza Place in Rocklin is not your typical pizzeria with red and white-checkered tablecloths, but rather an inviting family-friendly restaurant with high tables and signed photographs of famous athletes outlining the flat screen television.
Customers can grab a slice of pizza and it doesn’t have to be the traditional pepperoni and cheese. The house special BBQ chicken Hawaiian pizza is dressed with BBQ sauce instead of tomato, and topped with Canadian bacon, pineapple and chicken. If pizza isn’t what you’re craving, the restaurant has a rich menu completed with calzones, honey BBQ wings, sandwiches with Dutch crunch bread, fettuccine alfredo and tiramisu. On Stanford Ranch Road in Rocklin, The Pizza Place is where owner Keith Nash puts his heart and soul, said his wife Shab Nash. Shab describes the joint as a place where everyone knows your name, like the television show Cheers. Keith gets to know the regulars and sits down with them, she said. “He really bonds with the customers. People feel comfortable here”, Shab said.
In fact, one of the reasons Paul Rettinhouse keeps coming back to The Pizza Place is because of Keith. “We like Keith and it’s a friendly atmosphere”, Rettinhouse said of a couple reasons he dines there, besides the good food. Rettinhouse has been to this pizza joint more than ten times since it opened in June 2007 and enjoys not only the pizza, but the turkey sandwich and fresh salad bar. His colleague Hardiman Cureton is trying to to make it down the menu, taste testing everything.
Keith said the key to his successful pizza place is a good product. He makes the pizza dough fresh daily. The meat lasagna is homemade and Keith also makes the cinnamon and sugar sticks on the dessert menu from scratch. Shab also warns that some days, the aroma of homemade chocolate chip cookies may fill the air instead of pizza baking in the oven, fresh cookies are offered on the dessert menu.
Keith also oversees his first location of The Pizza Place in Auburn, which he opened in May 2003. But Keith wanted to bring his work closer to home in Rocklin, therefore he opened an additional location, and added more to the menu. Auburn’s location doesn’t offer pasta and sandwiches to customers, it’s purely pizza. “We offer pasta, we have appetizers, and we have Caesar salads. Everybody’s pleased”, Shad said.
The pizza establishment also does something special for kid’s birthday parties. Each child gets to make their own mini pizza, roll the dough, spread the sauce and dress it with their favorite toppings. “We have fun here”, Shab said.
The shop also donates certificates to nearby high school pep rallies and supports many of the local community events, she said. “If you give, you really receive”, Shad said. And Shab and Keith believe that by selling a quality product, it will bring in satisfied and frequent customers.