Local Boy Making Good At Lamorinda Pizza

John McGrath owns the pizza parlor just a few blocks from where he went to high school

John McGrath at Lamorinda Pizza in Moraga
John McGrath at Lamorinda Pizza in Moraga
John McGrath learned a lesson about finances early in life.

"Work hard and save your money," said McGrath.

So, when Lamorinda Pizza in Moraga's Rheem Valley Shopping Center became available for sale in September 2010, McGrath was ready.

He had enough money in the bank to purchase it.

Now, three years later, McGrath feels he has the business on solid footing and is looking to expand.

"I have a great team here," said McGrath. "You're only as strong as your weakest link in the chain and I think we're ready to go."

McGrath grew up in the Lamorinda area and attended Campolindo High School just a few blocks from his pizza parlor.

McGrath actually worked at Lamorinda Pizza under its previous owner as well as at other pizza restaurants in the area.

After graduation, McGrath didn't go to college, deciding to jump into the working world instead.

"That was my education," he said.

He worked in construction and at a job making table tops.

"I always enjoyed working with my hands," said McGrath.

However, he missed kneading pizza dough and pouring freshly made tomato sauce.

"I eventually circled back to the business," he said.

So, McGrath bought Lamorinda Pizza and has been slowly building it up since then.

"It was a distress sale, so it was a roll of the dice," he said. "But I saw the potential."

McGrath kept the name and left the decor alone.

The parlor has one table inside and a few stools along its sole counter. That's because the 1,100-square-foot eatery's primary business is take-out pizza.

They offer a few other items, but it's mainly pizza. McGrath said he focuses on quality ingredients, using Molinari meats and Grande cheese.

"We wanted to do one thing and do it right," said McGrath. "You have to be passionate about what you do or it shows."

McGrath has also been patient with his business. He has slowly got the basics done and built a team he trusts.

One of those cogs in the wheel is his wife, Adriana. She has a restaurant background having worked at a Danville deli for six years and handles some of the business side of the pizza parlor.

Adriana McGrath made a delivery of her own last week, giving birth to the couple's second son.

McGrath has also connected with a lot of Lamorinda schools, providing lunchtime meals as well as helping with fundraisers.

With the basics down, McGrath wants to upgrade the restaurant's processes, including allowing people to order online.

"As far as I'm concerned, we have the best pizza in Lamorinda," said McGrath, "and we want to make it easy for people to order it."

Judy December 16, 2013 at 12:12 PM
What a wonderful story of success. Setting goals, with patience and determination and some hard work. Congrats to the McGrath family. Now I know where to buy a great pizza!
frank mce December 16, 2013 at 12:37 PM
A fantastic story . This young man got his Business Degree ,on the job ,and I am sure has NO STUDENT LOAN DEBT .. A strong candidate for the Chamber of Commerce "Entrepreneur of the Year Award "... I am sure his family is proud of this young man and now so is the LAMORINDA community.. Get your pizza here ...... Frank
Longtime Resident December 16, 2013 at 05:49 PM
It's a very nice article and features Mr. McGrath's accomplishments well. I do suggest you proofread your articles before publication. Surely P.G. Molinari & Sons wouldn't be too pleased.
David Mills (Editor) December 16, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Hi, Longtime... oops, hit the "y" instead of the "i" on that one. It's been fixed. Thanks for pointing that out.


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