Thank you. Pizza provides an inexpensive alternative to our more expensive BBQ brisket, ribs, pasta, grilled salmon or seabass, and most recently steaks, (hence the new gas grill). Silver City, New Mexico is a small town with a struggling economy (like everywhere else), and our customers need that option.
Pizza out west has always been a real challenge, (kind of like Mexican food back east, yuk). Our town, population 15,000, only has Papa Johns, Pizza Hut and Dominos, and none of them serve beer. It is big enough to have McDonald's and Burger King as well, but doesn't reach the population level needed to support an Outback, TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, Chili's etc. So that is good for me, as I am trying to fill that "dining experience" you mention. And because it is a small town I have to rely heavily on repeat customers, and give them enough variety that they don't get bored with the menu. My restaurant is about half the size of one of these big chain "dining experience" restaurants, with 100 seats. And because I designed and built it myself, it cost a tiny fraction of what a "chili's" costs. I already owned the building which was my failed ATV/Motorcycle dealership, which was blown away by the new economy. We had wanted to add a restaurant to the Dealership, and I had already started accumulating equipment, so when the dealership went down in flames, it was the restaurant idea that we went with.
We have tried a lot of different things, ideas, and menu items. My crystal ball doesn't work very well though, and it is amazing what works and what doesn't. I am very fortunate that the original premise of good pizza, fresh pasta, good cold beer, real BBQ, interesting decor and cute waitresses has been successful.
And, pizza sales are up, I am using one less employee, customers like the new pizzas better, and we have not had one customer complaint about not having wood fired pizza any more. I also changed the menu to read "Brick oven Pizza".