Chuck Woodstock and Mike Chew were in search of the quintessential college town, and they found it in IV. What could be better? IV is right on the coast; it’s next to a large, prestigious university; the residents here like to party; and they’re totally kicked-back.
They found the perfect location at the corner of Embarcadero del Norte and Madrid. J.B. (a local who hung out next door at the Artists’ Response) was hired to paint our landmark mural on the wall outside. Borsodi’s (a counterculture coffeehouse) was in the same building and across the street was the BofA that was burned down in the 60s (which made for some great atmosphere!).
Chuck and Chew teamed with Larry Woodstock (Chuck’s brother), Jeff Ambrose and Tammy Rumpel to open Woodstock’s in September 1982. It didn’t take long for Woodstock’s to become a popular student hangout. In fact it wasn’t just the students who hung out there. The vagrants that used to inhabit the back parking lot were thrilled to have Woodstock’s move in – on the Woodstock’s dumpster they spray painted “Bin O Plenty.”
Chuck and Chew founded Woodstock’s on a simple formula -- to create a fun, student-oriented atmosphere, and to offer classic pizzas that surpassed anything they’d tried elsewhere. One of Chuck’s innovations was to put sauce in the folded-over crust. He also insisted on putting more toppings on the pizza than any of his competitors did. Ideally, you should get a taste of every topping in each bite of a Woodstock’s pizza.
Sadly, Chuck and Chew passed away in a private plane accident in 1985. But Woodstock’s continued on under the ownership of their families.
In 1986 Woodstock’s got the opportunity to expand into the space next door. One of our employees, Bobby Lipman (also known as Bobby J) painted a wild mural that covers an entire wall on that side, and another mural is painted on the surround of our skylight. Speaking of wild times, another of our employees, Steve Wilde, was the creator and namesake of one of our most popular menu items – WildeBread.
Woodstock’s has survived lots of crazy times in IV, including rugby weeks, Extravaganzas, ISVTs (Inter-Sorority Volleyball Tournaments), and Halloweens. For years Halloween in IV was a destination for people from miles around. On Halloween 1992, we made an all-time record of 1000 pizzas in one night. Our customers have been known to roll in empty beer kegs for extra seating when the crowd was pushing the limits at Woodstock’s.
Jeff Ambrose (the original Assistant General Manager) was eventually promoted by the Woodstock and Chew families to President of Woodstock’s* in California. In 2001, he bought the company from the families. A former General Manager in IV, Tom Soucek, is now VP, Director of Operations for all of the Woodstock’s stores in California.
Although the ownership has changed, the founding principles remain the same. The dough is still handmade each day, we still use Chuck’s secret sauce recipe, we insist on using the freshest ingredients available, we still load on the toppings, we teach every employee to make each pizza as if it were for their best friend, and we still have lots of great times at Woodstock’s!
*Woodstock’s has sister locations in Chico, Davis, San Luis Obispo and San Diego. Chuck’s wife, Carol Lee Woodstock, owns the original Woodstock’s Pizza in Corvallis Oregon.
Our mission is to earn loyal customers and team members who uniquely regard Woodstock’s as the Ultimate Pizza Experience.
To earn the distinction of being the Ultimate Pizza Experience we will:
• Prepare every customer’s meal with individual attention.
• Use the freshest, best tasting ingredients.
• Consistently create outstanding, unique pizzas and accompaniments that are widely-regarded
as the best ever, anywhere!
• Treat each and every customer with friendliness, respect and courtesy.
• Provide outstanding value that keeps customers returning with uncommon frequency.
• Be recognized as a fun and outstanding place to work.
• Provide a fun-filled festive atmosphere.
Woodstock’s will encourage our team members to work hard and have fun.
Woodstock’s will be regarded as a reputable, well-run company by all of our business partners and team members.
Woodstock’s will strengthen and give back to the communities we serve by fostering partnerships with local non-profit organizations.
Voted UCSB's Best Pizza 22 times!