La Vista pizzera finds first year a success

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Posted: Saturday, March 1, 2014 12:00 am

Looking back at a more friendly time where sport-watchers, businessmen and whole families could congregate in the same place over a slice of pizza and a glass of beer, PizzaWest set up shop in La Vista.

With not even its first year completed, PizzaWest owner Jeff Evans said he is pleased with business in La Vista and is looking forward to the restaurant's future.

“We really feel like we're turning a corner,” he said.

Evans, who co-owns the shop alongside Jim DeRouchey, said the restaurant opened on May 5, 2013, after the two wanted to start their own businesses. Evans had previously worked in a chain restaurant for 10 years, while DeRouchey had more than 25 years of business experience.

“I was looking at doing something a little less corporate, and he was looking to start a business,” Evans said.

He said they chose opening in La Vista due to a heads-up from the owner of the previous restaurant, Pizza Gourmet, and, while having the equipment to make from-scratch pizzas, Evans said they did a lot of work for PizzaWest to create an identity of its own.

“We kind of looked like a break room,” he laughed.

To create its own look, Evans said a wall was installed between the dining and bar areas. Additionally, a raised dining area was installed and a party room was created with a projector for both business meetings and private parties.

Evans said the tabletops are also unique, having a local company in Bellevue create them.

As for their food, he said PizzaWest offers wings, hamburgers, salads and pasta, but their namesake, of course, is in the pizza.

The biggest sellers so far are the chicken bacon ranch and carnivore pizzas. He said the taco and Hawaiian pizzas also go well.

“The Hawaiian always makes for a pretty pie,” he said.

In recent months, the Popeye-Roni has also been added, a concoction of pepperoni, spinach, cream cheese and mushrooms.

“That one we added a couple months ago and we've sold tons of,” Evans said.

Proclaiming himself and DeRouchey “beer nerds,” Evans said the full bar offers a variety of beers on tap, including local breweries Lucky Bucket and the Nebraska Brewing Co., which both manufacture their brews in La VIsta. He said PizzaWest also plans to carry Patriarch vodka, which also is distilled in La Vista.

Evans encouraged people to pop in and visit, order a pizza, and enjoy some foosball or pool, which is free from Sundays to Wednesdays. More information is also available on their website, PizzaWest.com, their Facebook page, or @PizzaWestOmaha on Twitter.

“We definitely feel like we're on the way up,” Evans said, “and we appreciate everyone's business so far.”

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