Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sportstime Pizza will be 20 years old on July 14, and we're having a party.

It will surprise some readers and patrons to learn that Sportstime Pizza came first.

Before Rich O's Public House (1990), before I became a part of the business (1992) and before the New Albanian Brewing Company (incorporated in 1994, and brewing 2002), there was Sportstime, occupying the space that previously had been a Noble Roman pizza franchise.

Rich O’Connell -- eventual namesake of the public house, husband of Sharon and the father of current co-owners Amy and Kate -- took over the Noble Roman operation in the summer of 1987. He pronounced it hopeless, began reshuffling the deck, severed the franchise agreement and changed the name to Sportstime Pizza. Around that time I began drinking (bad) beer there with my friends at the time, and eating the first of several thousand pizzas. Shortly thereafter, through sheer coincidence, Rich added bottled Pilsner Urquell to the menu and contracted to buy the whole building.

In 1990, two of his cronies opened Rich O’s BBQ, which passed to Amy’s control within weeks when they became bored with trite notions of labor and effort. In 1992 my tenure at what became the Public House began, and then Amy and I were married, and then her parents divorced … and in 1994 we formed the New Albanian Brewing Company with Kate, who later married Jeff. In 2002 brewing began, the following year Amy and I were divorced, and if this whole story sounds like something lifted from the pages of the afternoon soaps, I can assure you that all of it is quite factual.

Through these many roller-coaster plot twists, Sportstime has endured, and while lately we’ve made a conscious decision to market the NABC name as a means of increasing its visibility as a brand name for the house beers, it’s obvious that the Sportstime brand isn’t going away and has an enduring appeal for several generations of customers. For this, we’re thankful – whichever name one chooses to call us.

On Saturday, July 14, we’ll devote the day to a birthday party in Prost, with business as usual elsewhere in the building. Old photos and accounts are being collected, and if readers have any that they’d be willing to share just for the day, please let us know. Did you work for us at any point during the past two decades? If so, and there are no lawsuits pending, we'd like to hear from you, too. There’ll be beer and food specials and a few surprises, although my effort to engage Def Leppard for the day didn’t work out.

Roz Tate, are you and the 600 Hitlers reading?

Remember, this one’s about the venerable Sportstime dining area, which often gets short shrift compared to the cachet of Rich O’s and the brewery. But we've not forgotten our upbringings, and July 14th will be an observance of our roots. Both old-timers and newbies are invited to poke their heads into Prost and glimpse the progression.

1 comment:

shawn said...

Sportstime inspired tajana and i to open our own pizzaria

we've often said, as of late, that we've been better educated by roger, kate, sharon, and amy than by any of our vast college experiences

i too have become an elitist, a beer snob, a curmudgeon, if you will

sportstime is not a business,
it exists as a living organism, some prehistoric beast of an amoeba,
that can not be slowed by the the progress of modern man
there is very little rhyme or reason to it
but there is certainly a rhythm
that sounds a low bass soundwave throughout the known universe attracting the dysfunctional, the strange, the bewildered, the abnormals, those that refuse to be bound by accepted social regimes

up the revolution

build it and they will come