'It's what I love to do'

Nathan Cobb | 315-4432 | @WaltonSunNate | nathan@waltonsun.com

The owner of the oldest pizzeria along 30A said he's built his brand off of doing things the hard way.

Bruno's Pizza, located at 6652 East County Highway 30A, opened on March 20, 1990, and is the third oldest single-owned business along 30A, according to its owner Jeff Goodman, who said he has no plans of slowing down.

"People ask me all the time, and I try to give them all the same answer, if they start cloning humans, I'll have another restaurant," he said when asked if he'd ever consider opening up a second location.

The pizza joint relocated from the Seagrove Plaza Shopping Center to Watersound about five years ago and offers a vibe similar to that of a sports-bar to accompany its made-from-scratch pizzas.

Decorations include pictures of Goodman's three children — all of which he said have worked for him in the past — along with some New England Patriots and Alabama football memorabilia.

"I tried to teach them that they never ever wanted to run dad's restaurant when they get out of school," he said.

Goodman said that he was the shop's only employee when Bruno's opened its doors in 1990, working open to close six-days-a-week.

Now, he enjoys a more relaxed schedule, typically working three to four days a week.

However, he said that running a pizzeria is still a 24/7 job, and that there's always something to do, whether it's working on advertising or fixing an appliance.

One of the main things that he said has changed over the years is how often technology is used in the food industry.

"Everything use to be hand-written tickets," he said. "Now, everything is computerized. If you're not on Facebook and Instagram and do online ordering, you are missing the boat. ... Back in the day, so to speak, the three most important things in the restaurant business were location, location, location, that's not the case anymore."

During the business' early years, ingredients were bought based on what was most efficient.

Now, with the help of 30A's booming economy and the brand's success, Bruno's Pizza is able to purchase high-quality produce — like flour from Italy — along with home-making all their sauces and dough.

Victor Barrett, Bruno's manager, said the main things that set them apart from other pizzerias in the area is the consistency of their product, paired with a staff who has worked together for years.

"There's between seven and nine pizza places from Rosemary to Seaside, we produce more product, more pizza, than any of them," he said. "I use to say that the phone number was worth $100,000, the name and the phone number, because it's been around for so long."

Around noon, Barrett said they'll have nine pizzas on the buffet, six more ready to go and 12 in the ovens to satisfy the lunch-time rush.

Other items on the menu include wings — which they oven roast, then fry — salads, calzones, wine and a variety of beers on tap.

A few local breweries under their spotlight are Idyll Hounds Brewing Company, Grayton Beer Company and Destin Brewery.

"I have to keep the Bud Light for all the people that are afraid of the good stuff," Goodman jokingly said. "But yeah, we try to patronize the breweries out here on 30A."

About three years ago, Goodman said he tried to retire, but learned he didn't like having that much free time on his hands. He decided to come back to work, doing what he loves.

Goodman said he hopes Bruno's will still be up and running 30 years from now, even if it's without him, but as far as a retirement date, he said he'll cross that bridge when he gets there.

"To me, this is not work, it's what I love to do," he said.