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Recycled pizzeria

Shannon and Pam Anderson not only opened a pizzeria -- they won an award for improving the neighborhood.

Restaurant eases neighborhood blight, serves good food

When Pam and Shannon Anderson started converting a former appliance store into a pizzeria, it was bad enough they had to deal with 166 broken refrigerators.

But people kept coming by and trying to dump off more, Shannon says. They'd try to drop them and sneak away.

The blight at Jackson Street between Columbus Avenue and McAndrews Road has been converted into a flashy restaurant with plans to make it flashier. They will put in an antique ferris wheel this summer -- but that's another story.

The West Medford Community Coalition recently gave the Andersons an award for their efforts to improve the neighborhood.

The coalition was involved with the property before they took over because it was so blighted, said Gigi Michaels, coalition director. We were so excited they could take an old place like that and make it so nice. And the food is really good.

Shannon, 29, and Pam, 27, are not new to the pizza business, nor to cleaning up eyesores.

I buy houses nobody wants and clean them up, he said. There's no money in it. I just do it as a hobby.

Shortly after they met, they spotted the wreckage of a building near the Redrock Campground near Eugene, where he was raised. Pam, who graduated from South Medford High School in 1989, was still in college in Utah -- she was a biology major.

We talked about turning it into a restaurant, she said. I went back to school. After a while, he called me to say he bought the building.

They married (he took her family name) and rehabilitated two structures into pizza restaurants, but she missed Medford.

The rain was depressing, she said. They sold the Eugene pizzerias, located the buildings in west Medford and moved here in May. Redrock Italian Eatery -- named for the campground -- opened Feb. 9.

They tore down two-thirds of the building to make room for parking behind the store.

We recycle everything, she said. The wood on the tables is Philippine mahogany that was used as flooring in old railroad cars. We have molding and pillars that came out of the Craterian Theater.

People can wait for their take-out orders in a row of theater seats also salvaged from the Craterian -- and they can read from a bucket of recycled books and magazines while they wait for take-out orders. The telephone number is 773-6840.

They found a huge ornamental iron piece, now adorning one wall, while they were shopping for used restaurant equipment. It was somebody's gate, he said.

The Andersons sampled the area's pizza restaurants and concluded that with care and hard work, they could compete. They also offer pasta dishes. Pam's mother, Beverly Anderson, provides baked goods as Jackson Street Bakery in the same location.

We make the dough fresh every day and use fresh herbs daily, Pam said.

The other night a couple was in here on what was obviously their first date, Shannon added. It was really nice to be able to give them a bill for $12. Especially if it didn't work out.

Photo by Jim Craven