Delivering pizza with a side of love | TheUnion.com

Delivering pizza with a side of love

Miner Moe’s celebrates 25 years

Valerie Costa

At Miner Moe's Pizza in Nevada City, you can feel the love. Whether it's in the fresh ingredients in the salad bar, the pizza dough and sauce handmade each day, or the delicious baked sandwiches and calzones, you can taste the care and attention that goes into every bite. As soon as you walk through the door, you are greeted, and treated, like family. Perhaps that is because this is truly a family business; one where parents and siblings have helped out, children have grown up, and a marriage has thrived.

A Slice of Life
Owners Monique (Moe) and Scott Bartosh met while working at the original Round Table Pizza in Sacramento in the 1980s. Moe took one look at Scott, went home, and told her mom that she had just met the man she was going to marry. Turns out, he was there to be hired as the manager of the place and was her new boss.

Undeterred, Moe and Scott soon started dating, and in 1990 they did indeed get married…and remain happily so to this day. By the age of 21, both had worked in various pizza places and learned the secrets to making the very best pizza. The couple bought a Mountain Mike's Pizza franchise in Sacramento before they decided that they really didn't want to raise a family in the city so they set out to find a new, family friendly, town to call home. "We came up to Grass Valley to visit my sister, and Scott remembered how much he had loved the area when he was younger," Moe said. "We knew that we had found our home."

Just as they moved to Grass Valley, fate opened up the perfect spot for them; Deano's Brick Oven Pizza in the Raley's shopping center. They bought the business, and decided to name it Miner Moe's as a nod to Scott's knowledge of local miner lore and Monique's nickname, Moe. The couple couldn't afford to hire employees at first, so parents and siblings all pitched in to help out and Moe says that this experience brought them all even closer together as a family.

Miner Moe’s will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary serving great pizza in Western Nevada County next month, and will be having specials regularly throughout the month to celebrate and thank their customers.

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And then the family grew. The Bartoshes' daughter, Cordelia, was born in 1999, and came to work with Moe every day. She started with a crib in the kitchen and then decided that she needed more space and so built a nursery in the back. As she got older, she would ride her big wheel through the restaurant, stopping at all of the tables to chat with the customers. Five years later, their son Bobby was born and he, too, has grown up in the pizza business. "The kids always helped out," Moe said. "They would ask me every day, 'are we working for love or for money today, mom?' Sometimes it was one, and sometimes the other," she joked. But there is never a shortage of love in Miner Moe's Pizza or the Bartosh family.

Good Karma
After 17 years in the same location, Moe and Scott were given quite the shock. The owner of the building that they had been renting for nearly two decades told them that they had five days to get all of their equipment out because they were turning it into chain stores. Distraught, the Bartoshes called their friends, the Pardini family who own Hills Flat Lumber, and asked if they could use their newly empty warehouse to store the equipment until they found a new place. The Pardini's graciously said that they could use it for as long as they needed, which was a huge relief to the family.

Then, one day soon after, Moe pulled into a parking lot across from the Magic Theater to gather herself. She was in tears, unsure what her next move should be, and when she looked up, she saw a for rent sign in the window. That spot is where Miner Moe's has been located for the past eight years and counting. "It was like a miracle," Moe recounted. "We didn't know what we were going to do, and I was feeling hopeless, and then I looked up and it was like fate smiled on me. I knew it was meant to be."

Since they first opened their doors, the Bartoshes have been generous to the community, giving to a variety of nonprofits and making pizzas every week that are sold by the slice at Grass Valley Charter School, where both of their kids went, as a fundraiser for the ASB. Perhaps that good karma is one of the reasons that everything worked out despite the unexpectedly difficult circumstance they had found themselves in when they had to move the business. "We are so grateful to this community, and give back whenever and wherever we can. That's what community does; it takes care of each other," Moe said.

Fresh, Affordable, and Delicious!
The family atmosphere and friendly service are only one reason to visit Miner Moe's. The best part, of course, is the pizza! The dough and sauce are handmade by Moe herself and topped with fresh ingredients, some which can't be found at any other pizza establishment in the area, such as green olives, cashews, pine nuts, and more. She also has created a wonderful gluten-free crust, and makes her pizzas with regular or thin crust, or Chicago Style Deep Dish. There are also several sauces to choose from, including regular red sauce, Chicago red sauce, pesto, ranch, and creamy garlic. What goes better with pizza than beer? Miner Moe's has several options on tap, including selections from 'ol Republic, which is just a few doors down. "It's important to me to support our local businesses when we can. We're all in this together!" Moe said.

In addition to the standard pizza options, Moe's has many gourmet pizza creations to choose from with unique combinations that some find odd when they see the toppings…until they try them. For instance, the Art's Special has homemade ranch dressing, artichoke hearts, pepperoni, and feta, and the "Moe-licious" is a combination of pesto sauce, pepperoni, garlic, pine nuts and artichoke hearts. Moe's very favorite pizza on the menu is the Miner Moe's House Special, created by her husband Scott, which has no sauce but contains fresh garlic, olive oil, fresh tomatoes, feta cheese, pine nuts, and a blend of spices. "It sounds strange when you read it, but it's really great," Moe said. "It's my absolute favorite thing on the menu."

Another of Moe's personal favorites is the salad bar, filled with fresh items such as a spinach/spring mix combination, artichoke hearts, fresh cut veggies, homemade potato salad, almonds, dried cranberries, and more. Also, Moe is proud of the fact that she has a variety of lunch specials for every taste, and all are $10 or less. Each special has generous portions and can be ordered from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Don't feel like leaving the house? Miner Moe's also delivers to most addresses in Grass Valley and Nevada City (sorry, not to Alta Sierra or North San Juan), and offers a take and bake option, as well.

So call or drop by Miner Moe's tonight for a pizza, or make it your next lunch stop. And make sure to say hi to Moe while you're there. After all, once you walk through the door, you're part of the family!

Miner Moe's is located at 102 Argall Way in the Seven Hills District. Call (530) 265-0284 for takeout or delivery, or visit their website at minermoespizza.com.

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