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Backyard Pizza & Raw Bar unique, now open

Jul. 05, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Huntington certainly has its share of pizza places, but a new one has just opened that's a little different.

Backyard Pizza & Raw Bar opened last Thursday and is currently open for lunch from Tuesday through Saturday. The restaurant, located at 841 4th Ave., in downtown Huntington, features what owner Drew Hetzer describes as a California/New York-inspired pizza.

The specialty pizzas include the Gladiator, topped with sausage, pepperoni, white cheddar, mozzarella and a house marinara sauce, and the Tuscany featuring an olive oil glaze, baby spinach, roasted red peppers, eggplant and caramelized onion. There's even a seasonal fruit pizza, the Warren Pear pie on the menu.

All pies are available in 10- and 14-inch sizes. Prices start at $10 for a 10-inch Olde New York pie and range to $18 for a 14-inch Ameatza pie. All pizzas are made in an old fashion, wood fired oven. There is a daily lunch special featuring a slice of pizza and a choice of salad for $7.50.

For seafood lovers, The Backyard features an assortment of fresh oysters available on the half shell ($12 per order of eight), as Oysters Rockefeller, wood fire grilled and pan fried.

"I was truly in love with this location," Hetzer said. "My mother worked here for nine years when it was Chili Willi's. I was familiar with the space and the layout. They switched it up a bit when it was Woody's and later Cabana's. There was a lot of cosmetic work to be done. Structurally it was pretty nice. Me and two other people did all the building ourselves. We acquired the building in January.

"We have local art work and all of the artwork is on sale," Hetzer added. "We want to allow local artists to publish their work and gain some exposure. A lot of the wood we used when we were building were salvaged and refurbished materials. We customized some old tables with wood trim we found on some bunk beds that were otherwise going to be thrown out. With how the economy is and everyone trying to go green, it made sense."

Hetzer said they put equal emphasis on making a good product.

"Our pizza has a really crispy bottom crust with a nice elasticity," he said. "We make everything fresh and hand toss the dough. My girlfriend actually came up with the recipe for the dough. We also just invented a brunch pizza with eggs and prosciutto which we will offer exclusively on Sundays. Our sauce is also unique. We take fresh produce in tomatoes, peppers, shallots, onions and garlic then actually roast the sauce in the oven. It gives it more of a robust flavor. We then take an immersion blender and purée it down and let it simmer. We get some really nice flavors from that."

The Backyard is located at 841 4th Ave. It is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Tuesdays through Saturdays. Sunday hours are noon to 4 p.m. Plans are to expand the restaurant into dinner hours soon. Cash and major credit cards are accepted. For carry-out order or catering information, call 304-697-7437.