Weekly Feature

2017-09-07 / Business

Bob and John’s brings North Buffalo staple to second area location

by BRYAN JACKSON
Cheektowaga Editor

Ask long-time residents of North Buffalo where to get a nice pizza, and there’s a good chance they’ll send you to Bob and John’s La Hacienda, a neighborhood pillar since 1972.

Now, residents in Amherst and Cheektowaga can get the Hertel Avenue favorite a little closer to home, with owners Tom and Kim Hazelet opening Bob and John’s La Hacienda Amherst in April.

La Hacienda Amherst, located at 2071 Kensington Ave., near Wehrle Drive and Harlem Road, is housed in the former Bob and John’s Suburban, which shuffled between multiple owners, including, for a time, Tom Hazelet’s brother Jim, throughout the years.

However, differences with equipment and ingredients meant the pizza was never quite right, meaning customers weren’t getting what they had come to expect from the original location, Tom Hazelet said.

“Believe it or not, the water’s a little different out here, so the yeast didn’t activate properly,” he said. “Like I said, it was a good pizza, just different.”

With those differences in mind, Tom and Kim Hazelet, who, in addition to the two Bob and John’s locations, own the Wellington Pub, purchased the restaurant in February, changed the name, installed a Blogett deck oven — the same style used at the Hertel Avenue shop — and set out to duplicate the beloved pizza at the Amherst location.

To help ensure that consistency, ingredients such as dough and sauce are transported to La Hacienda Amherst from the flagship location at least a few times per week.

Those extra trips are worth it. The Amherst residents said it was always a goal to get the original Bob and John’s pies back to the suburbs, if the business went back up for sale.

“[Tom’s] goal coming out here was to bring back the original pizza to the customers that we had originally on Hertel Avenue that had, you know, gotten married, moved out to the suburbs and couldn’t get back into the city,” Kim Hazelet said. “Well, here we are within a half an hour delivery to their home, and they’re going to get that original flavor that they enjoyed on Hertel. That’s our goal.”

La Hacienda Amherst features day-of-the-week-specific specials like “Two for Tuesd ay,” which is two large, cheese pizzas and a two-liter bottle of soft drink for $20.99, and everyday discounts, such as $3 off a large pizza and double order of chicken wings. Additionally, Tom Hazelet said customers could expect quick turnaround times of 15 minutes for pick-up orders and 30 minutes for deliveries.

Customer service and hard work are important steps for restaurateurs, and ones that Tom Hazelet, whose father is the eponymous second half of Bob and John’s, learned early on in the kitchen, where he started working when he was 8 years old.

“We take a lot of pride in it,” he said of carrying on the business that’s been in his family for nearly a half a decade. “It’s a living obviously, but we like to hear when we’re out, ‘Hey, was that your food? It was great.’”

Bob and John’s La Hacienda Amherst is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and Sunday. To check out the menu, visit www.bobandjohns.com.

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