BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — To say the Jerry's Pizza & Pub is a Bakersfield institution is a bit of an understatement.
For 30 years the restaurant has served up delicious pizza along with great music. Jerry's is also set for a big anniversary bash from noon to 6 p.m. April 23rd, 2022. It features a variety of acts including Vince Galindo, Riddy K, Rockamole, andValley Fever.
Just the list of well-known bands is pretty daunting: Korn, Weezer, Paramore, Panic At The Disco, Rise Against, and Pulley to name a few.
"There was the time when we opened up the pizza place to two or three years after that we had all sorts of music," explains Jerry Baranowski, founder and former owner. "Jerry's became popular, and sometimes I'd say famous across the state because all kinds of bands were playing here."
In the early days of punk and underground rock (i.e. pre-cellphones), bands networked and reached out to each other on preferred places to play. Those bands definitely enjoyed playing Jerry's.
"I have a really clear memory of our first few years on tour, which is probably from 2000-2005," said Rise Against lead singer Tim McIlrath, during an interview in March. "And then the rest of it is kind of a blur. I think maybe because touring was new and some of those venues... there aren't many more unique venues than Jerry's Pizza. It's something that any of us back then or now still talk about. When you play a place that. Like Jerry's Pizza, you remember that.
"I remember that show and I remember how hot it was. That was the first time I felt like I was going to pass out in the middle of a show and I wasn't invincible and could just power through it.
Pulley also recalls playing Jerry's Pizza.
"For a short few years we made it up to play Jerry's at least four or five times," said Pulley lead singer Scott Radinsky.
"Nothing better than a hot sweaty night in the basement with people trampling the PA.
"Jerry was a huge fan of ours and we even made Pulley Jerry's Pizza shirts one show.
"Nothing but great memories there and hopefully someday we can find ourselves back down in the basement of the pizza place on the corner of Chester and 18th St."
Then there was the big show with Weezer.
"We had like 600, 700 people," said Baranowski. "We had to clear out the area because there was too many people. That was the most exciting time."
Jerry's was bought in 2018 by Corina and Ernesto Topete. Corina is the owner and operator of Jerry's Pizza.
And they've kept that torch going with generations of people coming back to the restaurant.
"That's a big thing," said Corina. "It's nostalgic for them to show their kids were they played as a teenager. We see a lot of families coming back."
Corina also explains why people keep coming back for the pizza.
"Just the quality and ingredients. And thinking outside the box. We have a cheeseburger pizza. We have a chile verde mac and cheese pizza. We try to create something different, so when you come back in it's something else and not your ordinary everyday pizza."
So what can people expect from Jerry's in the future?
"We're constantly seeking out different bands," said Corina. "We provide a space for anyone to perform. From all ranges of music. Comedy. Skits. In the future we're looking to do a little more comedy. A lot of acoustic on our top stage for lunch. We do live music for brunch."
Jerry's Pizza is located at 1817 Chester Ave. (Chester Avenue and 18th Street).