Blondie’s Pizza, a pizza shop mainstay in Berkeley, has been sold and will be undergoing remodeling at the hands of new management this month.
According to the restaurant’s new manager Abdul Zal, who was hired when the new management took over, the new owner hopes to revamp the facilities to give the restaurant a more modern atmosphere, with plans to paint the shop and add new chairs and tables to the space.
“The new owner is remodeling,” Zal said, adding that new management will be “giving it a facelift to make it cleaner, nicer (and) more modern.”
Zal said the remodel is expected to be completed within the next three weeks. Painting will take place at night, when Blondie’s Pizza is closed, in order to keep the establishment open during normal operating hours.
In addition, Blondie’s Pizza intends to expand its menu to include crepes, garlic fries and chicken wings, although it has assured its customers that it plans to keep the signature pizzas that have made Blondie’s Pizza popular over the years the same.
Jaleel Hanif, a resident of Emeryville and founder of Bubbles2Go Inc., has patronized the shop for about the last 25 years. He said he has typically had great experiences at Blondie’s Pizza and, overall, sees its interior remodel as a change for the better.
“The pizza is great, I like the big slices. The beef pepperoni kept me going,” Hanif said. “Keep the pizza exactly the way it is.”
The San Francisco location of Blondie’s Pizza recently closed because of an imminent public health risk caused by a cockroach infestation, according to Nancy Sarieh, public information officer at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The shop received a health score of 74 out of 100, with point deductions for different violations received.
“Most restaurants we work with tend to fix most of these problems within a few days to a week,” Sarieh said. “They’re not that difficult to fix, and we see most restaurants come back from them quickly.”
Blondie’s Pizza in San Francisco, however, decided to close permanently and will be opening a new location in Pleasant Hill on a yet-to-be-announced date. According to Sari Sakwn, an employee at Blondie’s Pizza in Berkeley, there have not been any similar health code violations at the Berkeley location.
Timothy McCormick, lawyer and San Francisco local who has been a customer of Blondie’s since 1978, makes it a point of his day to stop into Blondie’s Pizza whenever he comes through Berkeley. McCormick said he values the cheap, satisfying pizza that Blondie’s offers and hopes that it will keep the same atmosphere in light of the new changes.
“It was always just really funky and a little bit dive-y,” McCormick said. “If they can manage to keep the funky, eclectic vibe, that would be great.”