30A Prime Interview with ‘Pizza By The Sea’ in Seacrest Beach
While driving over to Pizza By The Sea’s Seacrest Beach location for our interview I was curious what would be different about this 30A pizzeria. I had eaten their pies before and my favorite has always been the Buffalo Chicken. However, I had never actually stepped into a PBTS location as someone else had always done carry out for me…
Upon entering the restaurant, I noted that the staff was all smiles and friendly despite being short-handed for the day. I was greeted graciously by Jason and noted their classic diner booths and chairs. Along the walls were Pizza pans that had been drawn on and creatively used for decoration. Some were of other businesses on 30A and some were just children who had done their best to represent what Pizza By The Sea meant to them. It was a very cozy environment and made me feel like I was at home with paintings on the family fridge.
While Whitney Holmes, the amazing woman behind our camera set up for the interview, I joked around with Kristi and Jason Beer, the owners of Pizza By The Sea. It came out that they are also mid-westerners, like myself. I am originally from Illinois and they are from Indiana making us neighbors up North as well as on the beach. Kristi and Jason came here because they love the 30A community. They like being in an environment where everyone knows each other and helps neighbors out. It’s also the reason why they mimicked the same environment for their restaurant. In a sense, Pizza By The Sea is like Cheers… “everybody knows your name.”
The pizza dough was baking, the cheese was melting and I felt like I was having a conversation family. Pizza By The Sea’s vibe is always positive and family-oriented which is something that makes them more than an ordinary restaurant. Unlike most eateries on 30A, Pizza By The Sea caters to children and this is why their number one selling pie is Plain Cheese.
Jason joked,” …it doesn’t sound like an impressive pizza, but it’s classic…Once kids try something else though they move away from the cheese [ Pizza] …”
Aside from their family-friendly atmosphere, I was interested to learn other aspects that make Pizza by the Sea unique. Without hesitation, Kristi and Jason both said that their crust is what sets them apart from other pizza joints. It’s thin, crispy, yet soft and has a magical taste that only someone who chomps into their pizza will fully understand. The recipe for their crust is a family secret that will be taken with them to their graves. Believe me, I tried but had no luck in prying it from their lips. The crust truly is unlike any other pizza I’ve had the pleasure of consuming and I highly recommend giving it a try.
While crust is an important aspect of any pizza dish, fresh ingredients are equally important. Kristi and Jason explained to me that all the ingredients they use are 100% fresh never frozen. They cut the vegetables and all other toppings up themselves and are usually at one of their locations working alongside staff. Yes, that’s right, Kristi and Jason are not absentee owners. The couple enjoys working with their employees to make food everyone is proud to serve.
Pizza By The Sea
Another aspect of the business that makes them different is their love for the Lord. Kristi made it clear that all their success since they bought the business in 2011 is because of God’s grace. They continue to spread God’s love through their pizza and by sponsoring community events or South Walton Athletics. God blesses them, but I also think that because they have such a unique love for this community and a servant’s heart for 30A locals they will continue to be successful.
Kevin The General Manager
As my interview with Jason and Kristi came to an end I continued to speak with Kevin, the general manager of Pizza By The Sea. He agreed that their “family” environment and quality pies are what sets them apart from the rest of the pizza joints on 30A. In addition, he made it clear that they cater to their customers’ specific needs. They have a 10” gluten-free pizza available for those who have special dietary concerns and if anyone has an allergy Pizza By The Sea takes it seriously. They make sure nothing gets cross-contaminated via their own special processes. Modifications to orders are never a problem.
This, to me, was a big deal to hear. I have many friends who have Celiac disease and/or allergies so when trying to a pick a place to eat with them it becomes problematic. However, knowing that Pizza By The Sea offers modifications and is extremely careful with what they serve I can now suggest this as a place we go for a night out. It’s refreshing to dine at a restaurant on 30A that truly cares about their customers and treats them like family.
A Place to Feed Your Happy Face
Pizza By The Sea is truly a place to feed your happy face. It’s a place that offers quality food, good prices, and a community of their own. As Jason, Kristi and I joked pre-interview, I said, “Everyone is connected in a big pizza circle on 30A.” Jason responded, “and we’re just a slice [ Pizza By The Sea] …”
For information on their 3 locations in WaterColor, Seacrest and Gulf Place, to place a carry-out order or if you want to buy one of their Pizza By The Sea shirts go to their website here… PizzaByTheSea.com