By Doug Hare EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – On Dec. 26, Pinky G’s Pizzeria opened its doors in the Town Center location previously occupied by Moe’s Original BBQ, which abruptly closed up shop 13 months ago and has been vacant ever since. Owner Tom Fay opened his original Pinky G’s in the heart of Jackson, Wyoming, in 2011, where the eatery has been voted by locals as the best pizzeria in town every year since.
“It’s incredibly exciting. It’s a little nerve racking … We don’t want to come in and step on anyone’s toes,” Fay said, placing copious amounts of pepperoni slices on a fresh pie. “Hopefully, we aren’t going to do that. We’re going to set ourselves apart. We’re excited to be here in Big Sky, Montana just like Jackson Hole, two of the best places on the planet.”
Known for hand-tossed pizza and a family-friendly atmosphere, Pinky G’s specializes in New York-style pizza, offered by the slice and whole pie, with more comfort food menu options, like chicken wings and tenders, and doughy delights like calzones and strombolis. Their infamous Abe Froman pizza (named after the Sausage King of Chicago) loaded with spicy sausage, buffalo mozzarella, topped with freshly chopped basil, has been featured on food celebrity Guy Fieri’s show “Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives” twice.
“We wanted to expand within close proximity to Jackson. We shopped around in Park City, over in Idaho a little bit—Sun Valley briefly—and then we thought it would be nice to do something in Bozeman,” said Fay about his decision-making process on where to open up a second shop. Eventually a Bozemanite friend recommended Big Sky as a perfect location, and the rest is history.
“It’s in our region. [Big Sky] is also, in our opinion, a hidden gem as far as a ski town goes,” said Cameron Hartman, the general manager, who has been with Pinky G’s Wyoming outfit since 2013. “We’ve done this process in record time. Transferring states has been the hardest part. Montana and Wyoming play in the same league but they’re on different teams.”
When the eatery hires a few more employees and gets fully staffed, the hours of operation are slated to be from 11 a.m. until “late,” according to their menu. Pinky G’s reputation as a go-to late-night food option in Jackson should translate well to their Montana counterpart, where they should be one of the last options to grab food where the after-dark food options are somewhat limited.
Fay noted that he also intends to roll out a delivery service once the storefront operation is going smoothly. Big Sky’s latest small business owner plans on acquiring a liquor license in the upcoming weeks, offering cocktails and beer along with the Big Apple-inspired Italian cuisine.
“The pizza market is still on the rise. In Jackson, for example, they opened another pizzeria about a year and a half ago,” Hartman added. “And we have increased sales since then—which is crazy.”