Willow Street Wood-Fired Pizza, 20 So. Santa Cruz Ave., is celebrating the completion of a major remodel and getting ready to mark its 20th anniversary next year.
The hugely popular pizzeria in Los Gatos opened its doors in 1993 making a name for itself with its individual-sized flattened breads made with Italian Double Zero flour covered with a delicious mixture of tomatoes, cheese and favorite toppings cooked in a wood-fired oven.
Managing partner and owner Los Gatos resident Ed Rathmann has helped the restaurant "putt on a great new face," to honor its two decades of operation in October of 2013, said spokesman Michael Jacobi.
The 165-seating-capacity restaurant's lobby has been completely redone and has extra seating as well as the bar, which now has new refrigeration and granite counter tops. There's also new upholstery in the dining room and new light fixtures have been installed achieving a more open look, Jacobi said.
Nancy Reineking, director of operations for Willow Street Wood-Fired Pizza, said the business hired a designer several months ago who helped make the restaurant more contemporary without changing its warm feel.
The remodel has updated the interior's colors, but has preserved the painted murals on some of its walls. "It started with just a bar remodel that then grew to the entire restaurant," Reineking said. "We just wanted to make it fresh, modern and pretty."
The restaurant's wooden floor has also been refinished and a small partition has been added near the lobby to add more bar space.
Its sister restaurant in Willow Glen, 1072 Willow Street in San Jose, has also finished major renovations.
Rathmann owns next-door Main Street Burgers and Willow Street Wood-Fired Pizza at the Westgate Mall, 1554 Saratoga Ave.
Loyal customers may have noticed the upgrades when they tried to patronize the establishment and it was closed for four days Nov. 5-8 with crews painting in the middle of the night to minimize impacts.
On a recent Tuesday afternoon patrons were pouring in to try its famous pizza, rotisserie chicken and its fresh salads with homemade dressings. The most popular pizza being ordered was the "margherita."
Willow Street Wood-Fired Pizza has now began online ordering and is offering a rewards card to frequent customers to help them earn points every time they eat at the restaurant.
For Thanksgiving, the three locations gave customers who brought a turkey for Sacred Heart Community Service a free pizza card. "We have a big commitment to giving back to the community," Reineking said.