EL SERENO — When Hugo Izquierdo craved a pizza, he often had to leave the neighborhood, heading west and “over the hill” to Highland Park or traveling east to Alhambra to enjoy a satisfying piece of pie. Now, he just walks three blocks from his home to his newly opened pizzeria, Blazing Stone Pizza.
“I love pizza,” said Izquierdo, 27. “I have always wanted to have a pizza place since I was a kid.”
Blazing Stone Pizza opened in early September on Monterey Road near Huntington Drive in what once had been a tavern called Saratoga, which had closed about 20 years ago, Izquierdo said. After tracking down the property owners and securing the building, Izquierdo began the long process of transforming the former bar into a new restaurant, a job that included cleaning out the building and lot that contained some old cars. “It looked like [the bar owner] closed shop and never returned,” said Izquierdo.
The building, which is fronted by a dining patio, is now painted a dark orange, a color repeated on the chairs and stools inside the small interior dominated by the kitchen and prep area. In addition to pizzas and pizza-by-the slice, Blazing Stone also serves up sandwiches, calzones, salads and foccacia topped with pesto and other sauces. Some of the more popular items include the chicken chipotle pizza and the Big Poppa, a pepperoni-ham-bacon-Italian sausage-meatball creation named in honor off Izquierdo’s uncle, a big guy with a fondness for meaty pizza.
Izquierdo spent more than 2-1/2 years to open Blazing Stone, working in pizzerias to find out how restaurants operated as well as dealing with business formation, branding and permitting.
“It’s been a long road but we are finally open,” he said.
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