Monday, December 29, 2008

Gidget Goes Straw Hat Pizza- Cool Calendar

What a great way to kick off the new year, with a trip down memory lane and the good old days of Gidget, Moondoggie and "The Twist."

Thanks to the just-published Straw Hat Pizza Calendar, Californians who grew up riding the surf - and all of the rest of us Midwesterners, Easterners and Southerners who aspired to lead the California lifestyle, can "remember when," each month we flip the calendar pages.

The calendar tracks some of the highlights from the time Straw Hat Pizza opened its doors in 1959 in San Leandro, CA

Guess what the price of gas was at the time?

25 cents.

A bottle of Coca-Cola was just 1o cents; a pound of coffee was just 77 cents... And you could buy a house for $30,000.

And, Barbie made her debut as an American icon, right about the time Straw Hat opened its doors. Other highlights: "The Twist" became the newest dance craze.

As Straw Hat approaches it's 50th birthday, the chain is growing and plans to continue to support and embrace the communities that made it what it is - an awesome place to grab a pizza and make new memories with friends, family, colleagues and teammates!

Now, folks can join the Straw Hat eClub at



Unknown said...

I remember Straw Hat Pizza Palace from southern cal in the 70's and 80's when it was a really fun place to go with my folks. The place was a lot of fun and had old 3 stooges & laurel and hardy movies and free charlie horse rides and had a the best pizza crust. The pizza crust was crispy and bubbly with 'air pockets' and sometimes had those little black burnt spots on the top and bottom. Everything was served on an aluminum tray or in a frosty beer mug. I remember that they served a wonderful item called a "hot hat" which was like a crispy calzone with a lot of meat & cheese instead of the pizza sauce. On the side was the traditional bag of potato chips and a pickle. Straw Hat also was one of the first places that had a decent salad bar, and it became one of my favorites, even though when I was younger my folks fought to get me to eat any vegetables.

But today I'm sorry to say Straw Hat pizza is nothing like that anymore. Gone is the great pizza crust, hot hats, and old movies. And in their place is a mediocre imitation... a conventional crust, a reworked hot hat that does not resemble the original at all, (it's now akin to a frozen "Hot Pocket") the walls now sport a bunch of tin signs and inconsequential pictures that take the place of the movies.

The mood must be designed to make one feel nostalgic, and it does.

It makes me wish the old Straw Hat Pizza Parlors and their wonderful pizza, salad bars, hot hats, and black & white movies were still around.

Apparently the largest part of Straw Hat was sold to Pizza Hut back in the 80's and since then what was left has been running as "Straw Hat Pizza" mostly in name only. The chain today just cannot be described as what we all remember Straw Hat Pizza Palace was.

Sad to say, but Straw Hat is just another example of a corporate takeover that stole the soul from what was an American original. I miss the old Straw Hat and will file those memories away with the rest of the best recollections from my youth.

Unknown said...

The pizza was a disappointment, Old stale crust. I wont be back.

Anonymous said...

I been gone for a while but I am going to become a patron again soon and I hope the pizza is still great.

Anonymous said...

I should elaborate a little. I may be a little younger than Collin, I grew up in the 80's and 90's but I remember the 3 big west coast pizza chains, Shakey's, Round Table, and of course Straw Hat. Now, thanks to the ever expanding national chains, only Straw Hat remains in my local area. And I do miss the taste of it.

Everyone talks about New York pizza or Chicago Pizza, but California pizza had a taste all it's own. Collin was right when he talked about that bubbly crisp crust. That along with a slightly sweet sauce, sinfully oilly/crisp pepperoni, and a blend of flavorful cheeses, was what it was all about.

I'd love to see Straw Hat get more So Cal restaurants or better yet go national. It's getting to the point where there are hardly any pizza RESTAURANTS to go to where you can sit down and have a night out or a party!