East Coast pizza comes to Trinidad

Janine Volkmar
Mad River Union

TRINIDAD – East Coast pizza, I am reliably informed by my native New Yorker friends, is a Thing.

You should be able to stumble up to a famous pizza stand on Eighth Street and Second Avenue in New York at one in the morning and buy a slice or two.

You’d be joined at that beacon of light on the corner by folks coming out of the clubs, late shift workers, musicians, taxi drivers, and performance artists, all needing the nourishment only to be found in a slice of pizza.

There’s even a special stance for eating it: Lean over and hold the slice so that the grease doesn’t drip off your arm and run down your elbow.

“There should be enough on the slice to keep you going for the rest of the day. It should be thin and crispy on the bottom and loaded with calories,” my New Yorker said.

“It’s not health food,” my informant said.

“Pizza has a broad appeal; it’s not supposed to be rich people’s food,” he added.

Headies Pizza & Pour, the new pizza joint in Trinidad, qualifies on all counts.

For the first thing, it’s been designed and run by a hardworking couple who migrated from Jersey to Trinidad, Chuck and Sherry Vanderpool.

They originally opened the Lighthouse Grill, home of the mashed potato cone. They’ve built that restaurant and the stand at the Arcata Farmers’ Market into a beloved icon.

The Vanderpools moved to the county to be near their grandchildren. Now they want more time to spend with the grandkids.

Headies, just across the parking lot from the Lighthouse Grill, is their dream of a simpler restaurant. Pizza, wine and beer. That’s it. The Lighthouse is for sale and the Vanderpools are downsizing, well, sort of.

Transforming the former Bergeron Wine Tasting Room into a pizza joint has been work.

They’ve had help from the talented Toni Magyar (check out the painted bricks that fool the eye and the wonderfully designed woodwork on the walls and booths.) Katrina Martin did the upholstery on the benches and other locals have helped in the design process.

One pizza oven was the start but soon it was necessary to get another oven, this one coming all the way from New Hampshire.

The Vanderpools’ daughter, Holly, a talented baker with L.A. props, came down from the Portland pizzeria where she now works to consult.

Some of the most valuable employees from the Lighthouse have moved across the street for the launch; others are new but talented hires.

The service at Headies is awesome. While others wait for their pizza to go, our slices were delivered hot to our table almost before we got settled in with our glasses of wine.

Whole pies are also served at the restaurant, raised to glory on those cool East Coast pizza racks that sit on the table, bringing pizza almost to mouth level.

And the selection of slices goes far beyond the usual two or three choices. These are some inventive and classic combinations. My East Coast consultants might turn their noses up at goat cheese and local produce but these are farm-share veggies.

The Vanderpools have been longtime supporters of local farmers.  Beers and wines are also local.

Headies, located in the Trinidad Shopping Center at 359 Main St.,  is open from roughly 4 to 9 p.m. and takeout orders can be phoned in to (707) 677-3077.

Thanks to the Vanderpools for bringing us food from “the greatest pizza region” in the world.



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