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Life & Work with Brian Nittayo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Nittayo.

Hi Brian, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Throughout school, I worked in restaurants. I was employed at a sushi restaurant near Cal Poly and Outback Steakhouse in Arcadia. I always enjoyed serving and meeting people. After graduating, I wanted to experience working at a hotel. I was hired as a front desk agent at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Pasadena. My time at the Ritz Carlton taught me valuable customer service skills. After working two years at the hotel, 911 happened. This catastrophic event adversely affected the hotel industry. I felt it was time to move on and get back to working with food. My father was retired and was itching to get back into business.

We opened our first Cold Stone Creamery franchise in San Dimas. We owned and operated Cold Stone Creamery franchises for seven years. During our time with Cold Stone Creamery, we felt a need to open a restaurant. A restaurant would give us the freedom to create its concept and menu. In 2009, we opened Rose City Pizza. It was just three doors down from one of our original Cold Stone Creamery locations in Rosemead. We decided to open Rose City Pizza because we felt there was a need for a neighborhood pizza place for people who are looking to grab a quick slice for lunch. Also, a place where locals could hang out.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
RCP did not have an amazing beginning. We opened during the Recession in July 2009. People were not open to giving small Mom and Pop businesses a chance. I spent the first three years in business staring through an empty dining room waiting for customers to come in. A good day was between $75-100 in sales. I found out our tenant neighbors were making bets to see how long before we would go out of business.”

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
We enjoy creating pizza fusions, which are inspired by conversations among the crew. Someone will mention they are craving al pastor tacos. Then we will see how we can recreate it with ingredients we have on hand. Our pizza fusions set us apart from the traditional pizzerias that surround us. Right now, I am most proud of the Taiwanese Popcorn Pizza. A few years ago, I visited Taiwan and loved visiting the night markets to get delicious street food. My favorite Taiwanese street food was the popcorn chicken with extra fried basil. My wife (who is Taiwanese) and I decided to recreate our favorite Taiwanese snack into a pizza. So far, it has been a hit!

Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
I have long days at work. I work a lot! I usually listen to podcast interviews of David Goggins to keep me going and give me a strong mind no matter what happens. Especially now. Conducting business during Covid can be very disheartening. I feel like giving up but then I remind myself to “stay hard” and keep going.

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Image Credits
Pictures are property of Rose City Pizza

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