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THAT’S A SOME 30 YEARS: Winslow pizzeria marks three decades of delicious
A lot of our society’s most treasured institutions are turning 30 this year, it seems.
According to mentalfloss.com, the Mac computer, Transformers, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” album, the first Ghostbusters film and The Cosby Show all premiered in 1984.
1984 is also the year that Lee and Marti Grant opened That’s A Some Pizza in downtown Winslow, Aug. 7, 1984, to be precise.
The opening of the Bainbridge eatery came just one month after the couple’s first restaurant opened in Kingston, Washington to phenomenal success.
Though the legacy of the restaurant spans three successful decades, their mainstay pizza dough is a holdover from another time more than 100 years ago.
“It started as a pizza contest between my dad and his best friend,” explained Will Grant, Lee and Marti’s son and current co-owner of the Bainbridge pizzeria. “They ended up coming up with a [dough] recipe from his best friend’s great-grandfather’s Klondike Gold Rush sourdough starter recipe. We had the starter dough, and it worked out really well. They opened up the first one there in Kingston, and the first day they opened there was a line two blocks down.”
Start on Bainbridge
Similar enthusiasm awaited the island restaurant, which also proved an immediate hit. Thus began the delicious legacy of one of Bainbridge’s most recognized establishments where business — minus a few new menu items and one ill-fated frozen yogurt machine — has continued very much the same to this day.
Soon afterwards, the Kingston branch was sold, but today the Bainbridge restaurant boasts 22 employees and a full menu of more than 20 different speciality pizzas as well as salads, calzones, chicken wings and focaccia sandwiches.
The unique phonetic-inspired name, Will explained, was his father’s idea.
“My dad just liked the idea,” he said.
“It’s really awkward to say because you have to kind of tell people twice over the phone,” Marti laughed.
As unusual as the name may be, its had no trouble working its way into the popular culture of Bainbridge. Will estimates that on a busy Friday he and his staff will make 300 or 400 pizzas, including those who dine in, take out and order delivery.
Delivery service has always been an option at That’s A Some Pizza, Will said, and so has an insistence on using the best quality ingredients and top-notch customer service.
“We think of every customer as a neighbor, whether you live here or don’t,” Will said. “The customer’s always right. We really stand by that. Customer service is what we really try to strive for here. You can get cheaper pizza on the island, but you won’t get a better experience on the island.”
Nothing trendy here
And while so many in the culinary world are proudly declaring the importance of regionally sourced fresh ingredients now, at That’s a Some Pizza, Will laughed, that’s just business as usual.
“That’s the way we’ve always really been,” he said. “It’s so funny that it’s a fad now to do these things that we’ve done for 30 years.”
“We make all our own dough,” Will said. “I think it’s something like 300 pounds of dough a day. We shred our own cheese. Most people will just do mozzarella [or] provolone, we do a mozzarella and provolone mix. We make our sauces also.”
In fact, the only product they do not have a direct hand in at That’s A Some Pizza is their increasingly popular gluten-free crust.
One of the first and only local pizza places to offer a gluten-free crust, Will explained that his staff does not make that specialty product because there simply isn’t time, and he was able to find a source that make a dough he was happy with.
“We always try to use the best ingredients and make everything from scratch, being informed about what we buy and what we use,” he said.
Ironically, given their vast array of artisan and speciality pizzas, Marti and Will agree that the classics are easily their best sellers. Pepperoni or just plain cheese, they said, are definitely the most often ordered pizzas.
More so than just a reputation for quality, Will and Marti said they are most proud of the restaurant’s social legacy on the island.
Since first opening, Will estimates that the pizzeria has had more than 2,000 employees, many of them island teenagers for who working at That’s A Some Pizza was their first job.
“I like that,” Marti explained. “I was a teacher for a while, and this is really just a smaller scale of teaching.”
“We’ve hired thousands of local kids,” Will agreed. “And the reality is that there are several thousand kids that this is pizza to them. They grew up with this being their pizza.”
That legacy and continued reputation is a responsibility that Marti and Will take very seriously.
“Pizza is one of those things that people really don’t take seriously,” Will said.
“They don’t think of it as a serious restaurant, they think of it as fast food and all of my chef training at other restaurants — and our other restaurants — really brought that pride back in here. You’re getting more than just a good pizza, you’re getting good service and a good time as well.”
Changes over the years
Will cited computers as the biggest change in the food industry in the last few decades, but said he is determined to keep That’s A Some current with the latest customer service needs. Starting next week, the pizzeria is expected to launch an online ordering option, as well as smart phone ordering applications.
Marti claims she is now semi-retired, but don’t be surprised to see her behind the counter or even delivering some pizzas now and then. She said she hopes now to have more time to ride horses — her second favorite pastime after spending time with her granddaughter.
Will, who has been primarily responsible for running the business for many years now, said that he considers it an exciting time to be a small business owner and, armed with the latest technology and a century-old recipe, has high hopes for the next 30 years.
“I’m very excited, I’m revitalized,” he said. “I’ve worked for my family my whole life, now it’s my time to kind of step forward and take the That’s A Some Pizza name as far as I can.”