It says a lot about Oak Cliff that our readers’ choice of best pizza is an old-school favorite and not the trendiest place around.
Home Run Pizza opened on Jefferson Boulevard in 1986. Oak Cliff residents Paulino and Maria Montelongo bought it in 1990, having exactly no restaurant experience. Their oldest son, Richard, had been a manager under Home Run’s previous owners, and when he told his parents the place was for sale, they risked their life savings to buy it.
“My dad always worried, ‘What if it doesn’t work out, this is our life savings,'” says Paulino Montelongo Jr., who bought Home Run from his parents four years ago. “But my mom, she’s very aggressive when it comes to business and working.”
So the Montelongos learned the business from their son, and they put all of themselves into it. To generate buzz early on, they started selling large pizzas for $5 each out of a vehicle they drove around Oak Cliff.
“It’s funny how that got our name out there,” Paulino Montelongo Jr. says. “Everybody started getting to know who we were.”
The younger Montelongo went to work for the Texas Lottery and then as a personal banker and loan officer after graduating from Sunset High School in 1999. He says that’s where he learned the value of customer service.
“I think what makes us so popular is that we treat every customer as if they’re family. That makes a difference compared to big corporations like Pizza Hut and Domino’s,” he says. “I take the time to get to know my customers, what brought them in here, what they like and don’t like.”
The most popular orders at Home Run are the grand slam, which is a supreme, and the home run, which has peperoni, sausage, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Another thing that sets the restaurant apart from other fast-food pizza places is that they don’t use any canned vegetables. They buy all the veggies fresh and slice them in house.
Next up in our reader’s choice contest: best breakfast/brunch. Go here to see the nominees and cast your vote.