The owner of recently opened Surf City Pizza & Gelato at 4263 Mission Blvd., formerly a Subway, has come full circle. He’s now located directly across the street from where he started out selling “sausage bomb” sandwiches years ago from a hot-dog cart in front of the Open Bar.
“It was a spicy, jumbo andouille sausage with bacon, cream cheese, caramelized onions and a jalapeño pineapple relish that sold for $5,” Zendell recalls. “It was a legend.”
After returning from Australia in 2005 where he was a teacher and met his wife, Isabel, Zendell started Platinum Party Rentals in 2006 with less than $5,000. Within three years, Platinum had grown into a $600,000 company.
But being a restaurateur was in Zendell’s DNA. “My grandmother owned a New York kosher deli,” he noted.
He discovered he had a flair for recipes.
“I realized I had a passion and knack for flavors, though I have no formal training,” Zendell said, adding his sausage bomb was so good Isabel told him, ‘You have to sell this, this is amazing.’"
That led to Zendell’s first restaurant, IsaBella Artisan Pizzeria & Craft Beer Garden in BayHo where he lives, which opened in 2013. The name is a composite of Isa, for his wife, and Bella, meaning “beautiful.”
“I put together a full-service classic Italian menu with gourmet pastas, made some handcrafted furniture and have amazing local craft beer and rotating wine lists,” he said.
But Zendell had a problem. “People from PB don’t like to cross the freeway,” he said, which led to his finding a spot closer to the beach to create Surf City, a natural outgrowth. “I wanted to do a quick-serve extension of Isabella,” he said about his new eatery, which opened March 2.
“We’re doing the same authentic Neapolitan pizza with a twist, offering fun little pizzettes,” he said, noting his football-shaped mini pies served in a foil-lined pouch for easy takeaway to the beach have been a big hit.
Surf City’s menu also offers a variety of 14-inch Neapolitan pizzas, gelato, gelato sandwiches, and salads available by counter service and through delivery to the beach, as well as to surrounding areas through third-party applications.
Zendell plans to eventually have servers in bikinis delivering his hand-held pizzas and gelato sandwiches directly to the beach.
Surf City Pizza & Gelato
4263 Mission Blvd.
Hours: Sundays-Mondays 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays-Saturdays 11:30 a.m to 2 a.m.