Original owner Woody DeWoody has been away from Portofino’s Pizzeria for a little over two years.
He says he’s been fishing.
This morning he reopened the pizzeria and dished up a few pizzas to customers excited to see him back spinning dough, loading on the toppings and tossing ‘em into the oven.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Kathy Rosa, a regular Portofino’s customer. “Every town needs a pizza joint. I went there today and it was absolutely wonderful.”
“People are so happy that we’re taking over,” said DeWoody. “They can’t wait to get up here and get a pizza.”
And thus Orcas Island has been saved from the sad fate of having no dedicated pizza eatery. DeWoody has also brought employment to seven other islanders he’s hired to work in the restaurant.
DeWoody opened Portofino’s in 1991 and sold it in December 2008 to John and Sami Messinger. Hard times hit, and it was closed this March, its fate uncertain.
When DeWoody heard about the closure from a fishing buddy, he had a chat with the building’s owner, Gary Bruland – and ended up deciding to reopen the pizzeria himself.
“It was a short vacation of two and a third years,” he said. “It’s gonna take a little to be conditioned again for it; it’s rough work. You put in quite a few miles of walking every day.”
DeWoody said he plans to have many of the same pizzas, with a similar salad bar. The most popular pizzas in his time were the meat-piled Portofino Special, and the Vegetarian and the Athens “running neck and neck” as a vegetarian option.
Portofino’s will be open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 376-2085.