We had the good fortune of connecting with Audrey Kelly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Audrey, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Before opening the Pizza Garage, I had a much bigger concept in mind. We ended up changing it to fit the space that we found. In the end it worked out really well and I am happy the we changed the initial idea. Our main goal was to make the best pizza we possibly could and really forge a connection with our customers. We are constantly trying to make improvements and evolve as a business while still producing the best product we can.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My family has always been in the restaurant business so growing up I was immersed in it and always loved it. After going to college, I was drawn to pizza after a trip to Italy. Living in San Francisco, I got a job at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana where I met and worked for Tony for about 5 years. It was there that my love of the art of pizza was cemented and I knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life. After moving to NYC to help open a pizzeria there I found myself back in my home town of Boulder, ready for a place of my own. I partnered with my brother Peter, with him doing the more financial side of things and the creative falling to me. We opened the Garage in 2015. The last five years having been the most difficult and simultaneously rewarding years I’ve ever experienced. The biggest lesson I’ve learned that it is ok to ask for help. I am a person who like to do everything myself but at some point that is not possible. One of my favorite things about the pizza industry is the support and friendships of the people I’ve met throughout the years. I feel incredibly lucky to be so involved in the community. I am a member of the World Pizza Champions, an Ambassador for Women of Pizza, regularly contribute to Pizza Today and our shop has been featured on the Food Network twice. These are the moments that sound big though. It is my friendship with and inspiration I gain from my fellow teammates that make being on the team so special. I am an Ambassador so that in the future other women will hopefully have an easier time breaking in and cementing their place in the pizza industry. And in all honesty, it is the simple statement from a customer that they loved their pizza that means the most and makes me want to keep trying to improve everyday.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of my favorite things about living in Boulder is hiking so that would be one of the top priorities. I’m going to pretend that this is not Covid times and we can go anywhere we want! After we hiked we would make a cup of the Coffee Ride’s brew to caffinate. That would quickly be followed by a breakfast sandwich at Moe’s Broadway Bagel. For lunch I would take them to Blackbelly’s cafe. That would be followed by a stroll down Pearl Street and Dinner would be either at Amu or takeout from Tiffin’s or Folsom Thai. The next day we would spend in Denver, starting off early to get in line at Bakery Four. That would be followed by lunch at Crush Pizza and dinner at Safta. We would hit up a few music venues like The Fox, No Name or Lion’s Lair to see some of the great local bands like Augustus or The Beeves.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my family. Even when I had my doubts they were there to hold me up and push me along. My husband is my biggest support system, whether it is slinging pizzas with me on a Friday night or just propping me up after a rough day. My brother is my partner in the restaurant and a huge part of the success business. My mentor and friend, Tony Gemignani, is the person who taught me how to make pizza. He gave me my base foundation for everything I know about it. He is still the person I call when I need help with something and without him, I would never be where I am today.
Images: Audrey Kelly