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    Setting Brushfires of Freedom by Don Jans

    The Original Pizza Cookery remains open for inside dining despite COVID-19 edict

    By Michael Hernandez

    THOUSAND OAKS—The Original Pizza Cookery, located on 75 West Thousand Oaks Blvd., and owned by Jordan (a Vietnam veteran) and Barbara Klempner (the daughter of a Holocaust survivor from Poland) remains open for indoor dining during this COVID-19 season.

    The restaurant which moved to Thousand Oaks (by the Thousand Oaks Inn) in June, 2019 from its previous location in Woodland Hills has been serving Southern California since 1975 and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Sunday-Thursday) and from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

    The indoor/outdoor restaurant features a six-page menu which not only features seven different pizzas (including vegan and gluten-free pizza) but 12 types of salads, 17 different Hero sandwiches, burgers, pasta, soup, fries, veggies, chicken tenders and gluten-free cookies and brownies.

    “Some of our customers at The Pizza Cookery have been with us for three generations and they continue to bring their children here,” said Jordan Klempner. “We are a family with many of my staff having worked with me for 10-40 years,” said The Original Pizza Cookery owner who has had to reduce his Thousand Oaks staff from 52 employees (32 came from the original restaurant) to 21 due to numerous COVID-19 shutdowns since March.

    “In junior high and high school, I worked as a busboy and then as a cook at a Van Nuys pizza place. I went off to Vietnam and served from 1967-68 as an Army 2nd Lieutenant. I was only 21-years-old when I saw a bullet take the life of a buddy. When I came home, I got my bachelor’s degree in business at Cal State Northridge and then a master’s degree at University of Southern California. I thought about law, but I found out, I didn’t like it.”

    Instead, “my dad and I each put up $10,000 to open up The Original Pizza Cookery in Woodland Hills in April, 1975. During the first 39 months, every month was busier than the month before.  We became a favorite restaurant and the neighborhood pizzeria—the Italian Restaurant.

    “My dad and I each put $10,000 together to open up the Original Pizza Cookery in Woodland Hills in April, 1975. During the first 39 months, every month was busier than the month before.  We became a favorite restaurant and the neighborhood pizzeria—Italian Restaurant.

     

    Barbara and Jordan Klempner

    “We remained there at the same location for 44 years but when our new landlords decided not to renew our lease—the rent had already gone sky-high and they wouldn’t negotiate—we had to find a new place. We found Thousand Oaks. Many of our former customers now lived here.”

     “We opened on June 2, 2019 and our first year was busier than any year at Woodland Hills. This community knew me. We had an entertainment license. We added live music and comedy. Then March 17, 2020 came (bringing the COVID-19 shutdown).

    “We were told we would face 15 days to slow the curve. Our dining room would be closed. Then we were open. Then we were closed. Then we were open. Then we were closed. I have lost money every month as has every restaurant owner since March.  I have spent my retirement.

    The Original Pizza Cookery located on 75 West Thousand Oaks Blvd. has won the “Favorite Pizza Award” 10 years in a row and is a Los Angeles Daily News Readers Choice winner; awarded “L.A.’s Best Pizza” “The Upper Crust” by Los Angeles Magazine; and “This is the Pizzeria that won’t be topped” from Big Valley Magazine.

    Happy Hour is from 3-6 p.m. Monday thru Thursday.

    Photo Michael Hernandez

     

    “We’re open now and are not closing The Original Pizza Cookery. We’re not against the health department. We’re just fighting for freedom. Someone has to stand. Business owners have to stand up.”

    Editor’s Note: You can contact the Klempers at their restaurant. They are compiling information to help other businesses stay open. https://www.pizzacookery.com/ or  (818) 887-4770   …Follow them on Instagram Like them on Facebook 

    Photo: JA Designs

    Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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    16 COMMENTS

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    Marilyn Look
    Marilyn Look
    1 year ago

    Great patriots and great food! I have enjoyed the pizza cookery for 40 years and I totally support them!

    linda morgan
    linda morgan
    1 year ago

    shame on you. i spent a lot of time at Granda Hills PC and Woodland Hills PC – but no more – you’re putting people’s lives at stake and for what? $$?

    Lewis
    Lewis
    1 year ago

    Fine, you are open, but NO masks or social distancing in the waiting area is INSANITY. At least require it while people are huddled together.

    Henry
    Henry
    1 year ago

    True patriots! I love you guys and will be supporting you and giving as much business as I can! Tyrannical dictator Newsom must be stood up to!

    Jeanna
    Jeanna
    1 year ago

    We support this 100% we will be there!

    Mark Grossman
    Mark Grossman
    1 year ago

    I totally agree with Jordan with respect to small businesses and individuals standing up for their rights and liberties, and specifically in this case, allowing small businesses to stay open and survive. However, I disagree with not following basic, common sense practices that do not cost anyone anything and potentially protect against the spread of the virus. Specifically, my wife and I went to the Pizza Cookery last night, and there were many people occupying the indoor waiting area that were nowhere near 6 feet apart. In addition, there were people that were not wearing masks and others that had their masks pulled down below their nose. Common sense says keep people 6 feet apart and ask the rest to wait outside. Also, they should be requiring people to wear masks inside the restaurant, politely asking those who won’t to please leave. If the restaurant is afraid of losing customers, they should prefer to lose the ones that refuse to observe common sense, rather than those who are merely
    trying to be safe for themselves and others.

    kathleen mccoy
    kathleen mccoy
    1 year ago
    Reply to  Mark Grossman

    If you don’t like the freedom and you prefer to drink the Koolaid of masks and 6′ space then don’t go there.

    C. Collier
    C. Collier
    2 years ago

    Outstanding!! These are true American patriots who understand that the only way fascists like Newsolini can take our Constitutional rights is by surrendering them.

    Captain Happy
    Captain Happy
    2 years ago
    Reply to  C. Collier

    Indeed. I’ve had enough of King Newsom and his decrees!

    C. Collier
    C. Collier
    2 years ago
    Reply to  Captain Happy

    Newsolini needs to remember what happened to Mussolini and his mistress. I would certainly enjoy seeing that happen to him and his “First Partner”. The only thing that would make it even better is if it was at an electric car charging station.

    Bob LaGrotta
    Bob LaGrotta
    2 years ago

    We support local business, Jordan and his staff are great!

    James Avis
    James Avis
    2 years ago

    Just went there tonight. Great food and service!

    J.Dean
    J.Dean
    2 years ago

    This man is a Patriot and we will support his business over the holiday weekend. Restaurant owners need to unite together throughout California and open up and stay open. The state doesn’t have enough inspectors to get everyone. If I owned a restaurant right now I’d open up and Lawyer up. If I got shut down with other fellow owners….I’d find a way to file a class action lawsuit against the State and or officials. They have no authority to do deny people the right to make a living.

    Mr. Hand
    Mr. Hand
    2 years ago

    I have fond memories of dining at the Woodland Hills location for many years on my weekly movie outings. I hope its new locale in T.O. can survive.

    Last edited 2 years ago by Mr. Hand
    Summerland
    Summerland
    2 years ago

    Absolutely worth being supported! 100%
    Love the owners spunk!!!

    Mark Johnson
    Mark Johnson
    2 years ago

    This is a business to support.
    Thank you very much!

    -Mark

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