Stay ConnectedFacebookTwitter

Subscribe to our eNewsletter

The Coast News

Plenty to like about the new Encinitas Pizza Company

David Boylan

Co-owners Phil Drew and Joe Reese with a killer Encinitas Pizza Company Pie
Co-owners Phil Drew and Joe Reese with a killer Encinitas Pizza Company Pie. Photo David Boylan

It’s always good to have an old-school Italian American pizza and pasta joint in the mix of any restaurant scene and for years, Giovanni’s in downtown Encinitas was that spot. My only problem with Giovanni’s was that the interior was not that inviting of a space to enjoy a meal. I still enjoyed it enough for regular carry out, especially the veal parmesan sub. Recently Giovanni’s was replaced by the Encinitas Pizza Company who has completely transformed the space and given it a new energy that really makes it an inviting place to enjoy a meal.
I had a conversation with co-owner Phil Drew recently about his background and the process of opening the restaurant. Phil’s partners in the venture are Joe Reese and Aaron Srybnik.

LTP
You have an interesting background running some of the most successful nightclubs in San Diego, how long did you do that and what was that experience like?

Phil Drew
What a ride it has been. I started in the Gas Lamp district 1993 and opened E-Street Alley. From there went on to On Broadway event center. Between the two sixteen years passed and I gained invaluable experience and formed great relationships.

LTP
While there are operational similarities between running a nightclub and a small restaurant in Encinitas, they are two different worlds. What brought on the decision to make the move?

Phil Drew
Between the two, there is a lot in common. Service and quality are what it’s all about. If you are catering to 1800 people or 8 everyone still has to have a good time and have the best experience possible. After being in that environment for so long I decided I wanted to focus on starting a family and a better quality of life, so there was no better place than Encinitas. Being able to provide great food for a community as special as Encinitas is a dream come true. I have been here for 17 years and am really excited to be a part of the community.

LTP
Having been in the business, you obviously weigh all the risks and potential of a new venture. What potential did you see in the old Giovanni’s space you took over and tell me what you brought to it to make it stand out in a crowded Encinitas dining scene?

Phil Drew
Giovanni's was a landmark in Encinitas for years, the stories of good times are endless. So we figured if we could carry on the traditions while updating some things. We needed a fresh start so the name Encinitas Pizza Company was born. The scene is changing rapidly in Encinitas. We want to stick to the root of what is Encinitas and be a very homey and comfortable neighborhood fixture. We welcome kids to grandparents alike, the atmosphere is very cool and comfortable for all ages. So I feel as though just being comfortable and unique at the same time will set us apart. Also we are the only restaurant that sells exclusive Boars Head products.

LTP
Speaking of the space itself, while Giovanni’s had a certain charm, I found the interior to be less than desirable to hang out in. You put some serious work into making it much more appealing, what was that process like?

Phil Drew
Everyone has seen the show Restaurant Impossible, imagine that times ten. We did all the renovations ourselves and used exclusively local merchants and products to do it. Our interior utilizes a lot of reclaimed woods that we collected from a local nursery. We also incorporated a great sound system and big screen TV'S to watch surf movies and NFL games. We would just like to thank the community of Encinitas for welcoming us that way that it has. People like Mr. Shaw our landlord for believing in us, all the guys over at Ace, everyone at DEMA, the crew at Moonlight Screen Printing, Chris with The Coast news, the city of Encinitas, Mike at Anderson stationary, Encinitas Glass, everyone has been great to us.

LTP
Tell me about the menu, I’d describe it as somewhat traditional Italian American with some twists like the meatball sliders, who is behind the menu and what are the influences?

Phil Drew
Joe Resses is behind the menu. Comfort food is his passion, and making you feel at home is his goal. Traditional east coast Italian food that Joe grew up with is what we are offering. We wanted to keep a lot of the old stuff from the Giovanni's days, so a large percentage of the menu is still intact. We did want to bring our influence to the menu so Joe being from Philadelphia we had to add a Philly Cheese steak. Our signature Meatball sliders have been quite the hit. We bake Kings Hawaiian sweet rolls and top them with our meatballs and provolone cheese, people love them!

LTP
We were there for open mic night, that’s a nice twist for a downtown Encinitas restaurant. Do you have plans for more of that?

Phil Drew
Our third partner AJ, travels the world with all sorts of musical acts and helps us make sure that we have great music for all to enjoy. The Open mic night is Thursday evenings and it’s very simple, acoustic local music to enjoy with a slice and a local draft beer. We have acoustic performances on Friday and Saturday night. We are also the spot for families to come to take in the games without the bar atmosphere.

For hours, location and menu, check out www.encinitaspizzacompany.com

<< Back