Pat and Judith O’Neal, Owners of Sally O’Neal’s Pizza
Celebrating 35 years in business, Sally’s was Pat O’Neal’s first foray into the restaurant industry. Today, he and wife Judith have led the pizza joint to success by creating a welcoming, family kitchen-like experience with recipes created in house for nearly 20 signature pies, homemade pastas, sandwiches and calzones.
Why is Pach’s Place your favorite place for breakfast, and what is your favorite dish?
Judith: Pach’s is go-to comfort food for us. When the world is looking kind of grim, we go to Pach’s [laughs].
Pat: It has always reminded me of a very successful New York deli. Everyone is really good at what they do and has a great sense of humor — plus it’s great food. The corned beef hash is a New York breakfast delicacy. The way they cook it with the hash browns and egg and a little crust on top, I can taste it now.
Speaking of New York, tell us what’s special about the dough at Sally O’Neal’s.
Pat: We have a New York-style dough, which means it’s not thick or thin-crust. We make all of our own dough, and we produce between 400 and 600 pounds a day. We knew a gluten-free option was important, and we knew we could do better than the frozen dough that’s typically used. Over six months we experimented with the gluten-free dough and ended up with a completely unique recipe. In all our dough, we use wet yeast. It’s goof-proof. It doesn’t go bad, but there’s a difference in the taste. We love the results.
How did the idea for Sally O’Neal’s come about?
I had a brother-in-law who had a pizza business in Maryland, and [my late wife and co-founder, Sally] and I went up there and ran it for a little while. We decided it was something we could do here.
What makes your pizza different from every other pizza place in town?
When we opened the restaurant, we decided the food quality needed to speak for itself, as did the pleasantness of our employees and the family experience you get here. We wanted for our customers to experience food that tasted as if it came out of our kitchen. We stick to the recipes that Sally and Judith have created.
Sally O’Neal’s Pizza
1319 S. Howard Ave. | (813) 251-0220
601 S. Dale Mabry Hwy. | (813) 769-5712
Read about the other chefs we interviewed for South Tampa’s Best Thing I Ever Ate (Not In My Restaurant) here.