All they thought it would be – and more

Feb 6, 2020 | Uncategorized

By Mary-Justine Lanyon

Ten years ago, when Louise York and Eddie Hillary were thinking about opening a pizza parlor on the mountain, they went searching for a location. Rather than rent a space, the couple bought Willow Woods, a cluster of rustic cabins in Skyforest.

While they went through the permitting process and waited to open what would become LouEddie’s Pizza, they started holding weddings at Willow Woods. “It gave us something to do while we waited,” York said.

The restaurant was finally able to open its doors on Jan. 27, 2013 – seven years ago.

Has it been everything they thought it would be? Jeff Michelson, who has been on board since LouEddie’s opened, talked about Hillary’s vision.

“After we attended the first Pizza Expo,” Michelson said, “Eddie said he wanted to make 100 pizzas a day. Now it’s way more than he ever dreamed.”

Hillary unfortunately did not get to see the full realization of his dream. He passed away on Oct. 1, 2015, after suffering a series of strokes. But, before his death, he had ordered what York called “the Cadillac of pizza ovens.” It eliminates long waits for the customers, allowing the pizza chefs to turn out more production per square foot of any brick oven in the industry.

To this day, the pizzas created and served at LouEddie’s bear Hillary’s stamp. The chefs still make the dough according to his recipe and prepare his secret sauce.

And, as for the pizzas he created, York said that “none of Eddie’s recipes have been touched nor will they be. He had the perfect pairings.”

She and her chefs have continued to add new products. “It’s important to evolve but we won’t change the past,” York said. “It feels honorable for me to keep Eddie’s legacy alive.”

Hillary had gotten a license to brew beer, something that has continued and has grown. The brewery, which had been located just off the pub on the lower level, is now in one of the rustic cabins. Three brewers – Sven Peterson, Hunter Goniea and Mike Jensen – continue to brew Eddie’s beers: Amber Woods Ale and Backwoods Porter. They now also brew Darkwoods Session IPA.

“We’re brewing 30 percent more beer now,” York said, “five days a week. All three are super popular.”

The chefs are currently holding their own internal pizza competition as they prepare for their fifth Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. The pizzas in the international competition, Michelson noted, “are as far away from production pizzas as you can get. Anything goes in these nontraditional pies.”

Last year, he added, a pizza won with an apple cider dough and fresh apples. One even had edible gold leaf brushed on it.

As for upcoming changes at LouEddie’s, York said they just upgraded their electrical system, doubling their capacity. And they are working on a robotics prep kitchen.

The first shift each day is the prep period, which begins at 8 a.m. “We make the food for the day,” York said. They make their homemade sausage, make the dough and sauces, roast fresh vegetables.

“There are machines that cut the manhours down,” she noted. They currently spend two hours a day grinding cheese. There is a machine, York said, that will grind a block in 45 seconds.

They will continue to make their dough by hand but there are machines that will roll the balls for you.

“We make so much in house that’s homemade,” York said. “With our current setup, growth isn’t possible. The restaurant industry is going toward robotics. But,” she assures her customers, “we always want human interaction up front.”

What initially drew York and Hillary to their setup will remain: The pizza chefs will build the pizzas and calzones right in front of the customers.

Now that the brewery is in one of the cabins, York hopes to create a beer garden behind that cabin. “We get requests from some events wanting to tie the brewery in,” she said.

For several years now, LouEddie’s has offered live music on Monday and Tuesday nights from 6 to 8 p.m., with Tim Grossman and Michelson providing the tunes. In the colder weather, they are inside the pub. When it gets warm, they are outside on the deck.

Over the years, LouEddie’s has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise and Let’s Dine Out with host Allan Borgen. And just two years after opening, the mountain pizzeria was named by Yelp as one of the top 100 places to eat – not in California, not on the West Coast, but in the United States.

That honor comes as no surprise to the mountain residents who frequent LouEddie’s or to the many Inland Empire folks who make the drive up the hill just to savor their favorite pizza.

For anyone not in the know, LouEddie’s is located at 28561 Highway 18 in Skyforest. They open seven days a week at 11:30 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. (8:30 on Fridays and Saturdays). Give them a call at (909) 336-4931.



rim bowling center generic 7 11 22 web
audio in english
audio en español
Daffodils blooming mountainwide

Daffodils blooming mountainwide

By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEYStaff Writer Spring must be here, as it is defined by the daffodils welcoming residents and visitors to the mountains. They are especially noticed on the curve of Highway 189 coming into Twin Peaks, just before Strawberry Lodge. Those daffodils...

Rim Honor Society does Earth Day cleanup at Arboretum

Rim Honor Society does Earth Day cleanup at Arboretum

  By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEYStaff Writer The Rim of the World High School National Honor Society does many service projects for the community each year. Because of social distancing, they chose smaller projects than usual this year, such as doing an Earth Day cleanup...

Future of Lake Gregory to be discussed

Future of Lake Gregory to be discussed

A free community informational meeting focusing on the future of Lake Gregory will be held April 22, starting at 6 p.m., at the Lake Gregory South Shore pavilion. Hosted by the Lake Gregory Community Advisory Committee, presenters will include Beahta Davis, county...