Jenny Goldsmith
Special to the Bonanza

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December 8, 2011
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Place your bets on Bar Bar Bar Pizza

Flavorful, homemade tomato sauce. Melted mozzarella cheese. Warm, fresh-baked pizza dough. Savory sausage and pepperoni. Zesty bell peppers and roasted garlic. Creamy, house-made bleu cheese dressing. Is your stomach growling yet?

Pizza is one of the most delectable comfort foods. Its origins date back to the Neolithic age where records show people added toppings to their bread to make it taste better. It's the staple of childhood birthday parties, football games and movie nights. It brings families together on a Friday evening when mom or dad doesn't want to cook after the end of a long work week.

Pizza is arguably one of the best culinary creations known to man, especially when the ingredients are homemade, like the pizza from Bar Bar Bar Pizza in Incline Village.

The Brockelsby family has been sharing their traditional take on pizza with the Incline Village community since 1988, and the family-owned establishment is nothing short of “the big cheese” when it comes to serving up high-quality, reasonably-priced pizza and salads.

“There were only two pizza places in town when we opened in 1988 — Mofo's and Azzara's — and they're both still here, but we thought we wanted to do something a little different,” said owner Rhonda Brockelsby, who co-owns the establishment with her 81-year-old father and 79-year-old mother. “My father's background is in gaming, so we added gaming machines and a full bar.”

The Brockelsby family had invested in other small-business operations prior to opening Bar Bar Bar Pizza, also known as U-Bake Pizza, but with Rhonda's mother's delicious Italian recipes combined with her father's collection of gaming machines, a pizza parlor with poker seemed like the best bet.

At the time, the Village Shopping Center located off Mays Boulevard in Incline was a thriving business location. Over the years, however, the Brockelsbys have seen the businesses come and go.

“As the town changes, people sometimes forget the Village Shopping Center is here,” Brockelsby said.

But Bar Bar Bar Pizza clientele have remained loyal to the family-based restaurant and in return, the owners haven't shrunk their product, inflated their prices or altered their recipes, Brockelsby said.

“We've been doing our lunch special for 15 years and I'm proud to say we've never gone up in price, never shrunk it, and we've continued to do it as we always do,” she said. “I'm amazed how many people come have lunch with us or take it to go, and they keep coming back.

“Our clientele is wonderful.”

Maybe it's the flavorful pizza that entices customers to return to the establishment, or perhaps it's because the restaurant is built around the fundamentals of giving back to the Incline Village community.

Every year in October for Brockelsby's birthday, she puts together Rhonda's Coat Drive, a fundraiser in which the small-business owner collects jackets for the Boys and Girls Club of Reno. This past October, with the help of the community, Brockelsby was able to donate more than 150 coats to children in need.

“There are so many people in need and I really don't need presents on my birthday, so it's a good thing to give to somebody else,” Brockelsby said.

The pizza and gaming joint also sponsors dozens of local organizations, including Incline High School, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, after school programs, the Pet Network Humane Society of Incline Village, Toys for Tots and Relay for Life, to name a few.

“High school kids come almost every school day for a discount lunch,” said Brockelsby. “Then they come back when they are adults, which I love, and they bring their families back to say ‘this is where I had lunch every day' — that's always an honor.”

The small mountain community has made Bar Bar Bar Pizza a staple establishment, but when TV producers from CSI Las Vegas asked to use the Bar Bar Bar logo in a season four episode, and when the pizza place served as the background of a scene in the novel “Dreams of the Dead,” the Brockelsbys knew they had earned their place.

“We have people that have been with us since we opened our door in 1988 and we feel so fortunate to have that,” Brockelsby said.

And it's not just the owners who feel grateful for the success of their business. Dani Rand, a Bar Bar Bar Pizza bartender for nearly two years, said it's undoubtedly one of the best jobs she's had.

“I love working there. Rhonda and her parents are amazing people to work for and it's so nice working for a local family and not a big corporation,” said Rand. “They've been really good to me.”

Brockelsby said it's hard to predict what will happen with Bar Bar Bar Pizza, but she hopes to remain a part of the Incline community for the foreseeable future.

Through a recent partnership with the Incline Village Business Association, the Brockelsbys are hoping to increase sales through a new online marketing campaign and customers can anticipate a Bar Bar Bar/U-Bake Pizza website to launch soon, Brockelsby said.

“It all depends on the town and it's not all easy, but we will be here as long as the town continues to support us,” she said. “It's work, but it's also very personal. A lot of people who come in are our friends. If somebody comes in and needs something, we can figure out how to get it. If somebody is sick, we take them pizza. If somebody hasn't seen someone for couple of days, we go knock on their door. That's what small towns are all about; we have to take care of each other.”

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Dec 8, 2011 11:16AM Published Dec 8, 2011 11:09AM Copyright 2011 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.