Hot Spots: Unique flavor at George’s

Ben Lippert

Ben Lippert

The people and students of Brookings have many options when it comes to finding a place to eat. Included in that wide variety of choices is George’s Pizza. Whether you want authentic Greek food, pasta, a burger, fried chicken or just a unique kind of pizza, George’s will satisfy your appetite.

Locally and family owned, George’s Pizza has been serving the city of Brookings and the local community for almost 40 years. George’s originated in Brookings in July of 1971 when it moved into the current building which used to be a bank on Main Street. Yes, there is still a vault, and no, it does not contain any secret recipes. There are no secrets to George’s success other than customer service, a friendly atmosphere and fresh ingredients.

“A lot of restaurants use processed food,” said Jen Uselton, George’s manager and SDSU graduate student.

“We make our own dough, we slice our own cheese, we grind our own beef and make our own pasta. Everything that’s here is made from scratch.”

Uselton also mentioned that every item on the menu is “high quality,” which is why George’s tends to be a little more expensive. She explained that at George’s the customer pays for quality, and that it’s worth a little extra.

George’s also offers a laid-back atmosphere. SDSU graduate MaKayla Herman, also a George’s manager, described the atmosphere as informal and fun.

“I definitely think it’s a close-knit place,” said Herman. “Everybody here feels like they’re family when they walk in. Our owners know everybody who walks through the door, people can walk up to the register at any time and talk to the cooks. It’s just a really friendly atmosphere.”

Along with the food and the fun comes the economics of running a business. Neither Uselton nor Herman thinks the economy has caused a decline in sales. In fact they said that business hasn’t changed much at all.

“There are seven new restaurants in Brookings in the last year,” Herman said. “It hasn’t killed us obviously, we’re still us. The people that come here are regulars.”

George’s has a devoted following of regulars, but business has been slow lately, said Herman and Uselton. They said the diversity of other lunch options in Brookings may be part of the reason their lunch buffet has been slow, but they also attributed the decline to the time of year when students are just coming back for school and right before tax refunds.

The economic slowdown isn’t slowing George’s from renovating and remodeling, however. In May of 2007 George’s underwent a major facelift. Some of the many changes included tearing out a central dividing wall to open up the building, raising the ceiling, putting in new tiles, stripping the walls and repainting.

Recently, George’s has installed computer systems to take orders more efficiently and accurately. They are also planning on re-doing the front door by adding an entryway to prevent the outside weather from getting inside.

When George’s isn’t slow, they are busy catering parties and events, planning “Greek Nights”, and running the late-night window.

George’s will cater any party of any size. They set up outdoor tables during special events like home games and Hobo Week. When there aren’t special events, the employees run the late-night window, which caters to the late-night pizza fans.

Uselton said the employees who work the late-night window are not on the clock. She and Herman both stressed how much they value the employees who are willing to sacrifice their sleep.

George’s also has many daily specials. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays large single topping pizzas are $9.99.

Monday and Tuesdays medium single topping pizzas are $5. Also, a lunch and dinner buffet is featured that includes a salad bar, pizza and other items.

George’s has a delivery service for an extra dollar. Uselton and Herman said that it isn’t very well known, but that it is a really good deal and wonder why customers don’t use it more.

Soon George’s will be on Facebook, allowing fans to get informed about special promotions and Greek Nights, post pictures and share experiences at the restaurant.

So the next time you are looking for some authentic Greek food or craving pizza, give George’s a try. You are sure to experience a feast unique to Brookings.