As a lifelong resident of Havertown, it’s only natural to pick your hometown as a top choice when deciding to own a business. I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to settle down in Havertown, taking ownership of Hoopty’s Pizza & Pasta as of June 2011. My loving family, supportive to say the least, is very important to me. After getting married in 2012, I am also fortunate enough to have settled down with my beautiful (and patient) wife, and married into a second supportive and loving family whom also call Havertown home. In 2015 my wife & I welcomed our first future employee into our family (& the Hoopty’s Family) with the arrival of our first child, our little baby girl. Attending Saint Denis (GO BULLDAWGS!) and Haverford Senior High (GO FORDS!), earning my Eagle Scout with the fabled Troop #144, it’s safe to say I’m a Havertownian…
I began working at the age of 12 in 1989 at Merion Golf Club and first started cooking in 1993 at the McDonald’s of Havertown (now Hollywood Videos Site). After graduating high school, I didn’t return to the kitchen until I moved home from my time at California University of Pennsylvania coupled with the Marines and Marine Corps Reserves. Studying hydrology (and meteorology) was a blast, but living so far from home simply didn’t work for me. Struggling to find a ‘steady’ full-time job as so many of us do in our late teens/early twenties when out of steady work, I worked as a dishwasher & prep cook, roofer & bartender, machinist & goldsmith, bouncer and carpenter… sometimes piecing together 4 part time jobs with a full time one to make ends meet, learning my way up to line cook, pantry/pastry chef and eventually learning the responsibilities of a good saucier at places like the Wild Onion, Roux 3, the Radnor Hotel, as well as some varied roles in addition to experience at other main line favorites like the Grog (Mallory’s), PJ Henry’s, 23 East, The Oakmont Pub, Kelly’s, Wayne’s Beef & Ale, and more… Working for “Johnny,” rockin’ chef extraordinaire, at the Onion gave me the desire to learn more about cooking then just knocking tickets out. One of the most talented and level-headed chefs and co-worker/managers I’ve ever had the pleasure working with and for, and considered a great friend still, John instilled the fundamentals of every aspect of kitchen work, with regards to team building as well as culinary knowledge. My favorite lessen, to this day (minus I’ll take another Golden Monkey) is that a business is only run as well as the back of the house is kept. If customers can’t see it and it’s a circus, most likely the business isn’t run that well. Spending the next decade as many itchy cooks do, I’d switch jobs when the menu got boring or I simply stopped learning or had a bad experience (plus side of being a cook is that there is always someone in need of one!) and was able to significantly increase my culinary abilities (or so I’ve been told). After attending West Chester for hydrogeology with Physics as a minor interest I moved once more but still kept on cooking. Running a pizza table on the boardwalk and moving to inland Southern Delaware and eventually, after 15 years of back and forth cooking, briefly earning the Exec. Chef position at an Italian Restaurant in Five Points seemed like the highlight of my cooking career. Sadly, I HATED IT! There was no one above me to deal with the problems and thankfully someone else was able to step in an do it which left me thinking “RUN…RUN NOW!”
After a few years out of the business working as a Supervisor at Chester County Correctional Facility, I recharged my batteries and after being laid off, with the support of those around me, was able to take ownership of Hoopty’s from the original owner. As I tell everyone, piecing together work was no fun, I had to buy my own business just to work full time! Boy am I making up for that time off averaging well over 110 – 120 hours a week!! So now I am here at Hoopty’s, fixing all the things I didn’t like about other kitchen jobs and trying not to make the numerous mistakes my former employers did in business ownership, a daily challenge to say the least as I can now relate to what they went through! Cooking, many days, is the easy part. I was raised to do things right and I try to apply that to my every day actions at work. We hire a lot of first time employees and its imperative they be taught the lessons and values for success at any job later in life. Many people ask us why we close a little earlier, and open a little later. It’s simple, I grew up with dream of being a family man like my father as well as the dream of being successful in raising a family like my mother. Many members of the Hoopty’s Family have little ones, significant others, 2 jobs, college & high school commitments, etc. I take it as my personal responsibility to ensure that we are operating annually as close to average peak hours as possible while also allowing the maximum time for my staff to enjoy with their families and other commitments. With an emphasis on family first and quality over quantity I hope to be here as long as Havertown will allow me to keep trying new things and pumping out great food with better service then is expected of a small mom & pop pizzeria in the suburbs!!
Hope to ‘See ya Soon!’