Goat Hill Pizza has been satisfying Potrero Hill residents’ cravings for peperoni, cheese, and a myriad of other pizzas since 1975. But more than pro-viding lunch and dinner, patrons and employees agree that the restaurant serves as an anchor of the community.
“It’s a cornerstone of the neigh-borhood; kind of the headquarters of Potrero Hill. It’s a really progressive San Francisco company,” said Elena Neustadt, Goat Hill’s general manager.
Founding owners Phil De Andrade, Karen and Mike Monley, Ruthann Dickinson, and Joel and Loris Lipski started the restaurant on a shoestring. The group of friends opened their first – and only, until 2009 – location on 18th and Connecticut streets. It took over a spot that had been occupied by Hollander, a ribs and burger joint. At the time Goat Hill Pizza was one of a handful of dining options in a neigh-borhood now filled with eateries.
Since its early days the family-friendly restaurant has followed three basic principles: good food, good service, good location. Known for its handmade sourdough crust, Goat Hill has fans throughout the City, but es-pecially on the Hill, South-of-Market, and in West Portal. Six years ago Goat Hill opened a SoMA location, to service deliveries. Four years later the restaurant expanded to West Portal.
De Andrade attributes some of Goat Hill’s success to maintaining nearly the same menu the founders opened with in 1975: sourdough pizza, soup, salad, as well as meatball and veggie sandwiches. Yet the restaurant has evolved over the years. True to its name, Goat Hill Pizza once hosted goats. The young entrepreneurs pur-chased their mascot, Hilda, in Sonoma. Not long afterwards Hilda gave birth to two kids, Loretta and Bucky. For ten years the small family grazed the rocky pasture behind the restaurant. In 1985 the pizzeria built a rear dining room on top of the empty lot. The goats were relocated to Sonoma State Hospital, where they became amateur mascot therapists.
Over the years Goat Hill Pizza has supported a large number of communi-ty gatherings, including for Community in Solidarity with the People of El Sal-vador, and, more regularly, the Potrero Dogpatch Merchants Association. The restaurant has been a consistent supporter of San Francisco schools, hosting fundraisers and providing food for neighborhood gatherings.
“We’ve always tried to give back to support the community through food and finance. I think that’s why it works,” said De Andrade.
De Andrade noted that while Goat Hill’s owners may be getting older, their commitment to remaining part of the community is steadfast. De Andrade, who lives on a houseboat anchored in Mission Creek, is a long stroll away from his Hill and SoMa locations.
“We have a neighborhood-oriented business, and a very neighborhood-oriented population to serve,” he said. “I continue to love walking down the streets and being recognized as the pizza guy from Potrero Hill. It’s a kind of rooting in San Francisco, which makes living in [here] so special.”
Dickinson and Lipski passed away in 2013 and 2014 respectively.