In a college town where pizza joints are abundant, Dennis and Mary Vanoostendrop have developed quite a customer base at their 6 N Tubbs pizzeria on West Oxford Loop
Dennis Vanoostendorp is a Dutchman on a pizza mission in Oxford, Mississippi.
Dennis, 51, and his mom, Mary, 77, are growing a pizza business based on handmade New York style and Sicilian deep dish pizzas, Calzones and Stromboli with a family pizza joint atmosphere.
“I just love to see the smile on kids’ faces when they come in with mom and dad to order pizzas. When they make drawings on paper, we display them right up front,” Dennis said. “Its about making a living, but it’s also about people and family,” he added.
Dennis is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has cooked for leaders at the top of the corporate ladder. The president and chairman of the board of Sony, as example. He was chef in executive dining rooms in New York before following his brother Dutch, who moved to Sardis to open a pizza place. His first establishment was located at 6 N Tubbs (Tubbs street and Highway 6) in Batesville. He and Mary next opened a small pizza place on West Oxford Loop in Oxford.
Mary runs the counter and takes orders while Dennis does all the cooking. He makes his own dough, sauce, marinara sauce (for the Calzones and Stromboli) and even has homemade root beer. ”We use special ingredients and make it ourselves,” he said.
The Oxford business is named 6 N Tubbs after the Batesville location.
Calzones and Stromboli include The Rebel (Dennis is a devoted fan, as illustrated by decorations and his customer base), the Yankee (appropriate for a transported New Yorker), or the Veggie or Chicken Pram. Pizzas include Neapolitan Thin Crust and Sicilian Deep Dish Crust. 6 N Tubbs is open from 4 to 9 p.m. and in just a year has developed a loyal base of avid supporters and pizza lovers.
Neapolitan Thin Crust pizzas can be purchased by the slice at $2 to $3 per slice, depending on toppings, while very large pies range from $15 to $20, depending on toppings. Sicilian Deep Dish Crust can also be purchased by slice or whole pies. Calzones and Stromboli are $9.
In a 45 minute visit recently, ever customer that came in the store was a repeat customer and knew the pizza chef and his mom, and the Vanoostendorps knew each customer. Among customers during this visit were Ace Atkins, who said, “I eat here maybe five times a week,” as he made his way to the ATM with a big smile on his face. A family of five included Jason Talavs, his wife Kelly and three of their four children. The youngest asked her dad for a sharpie so she could draw, presumably to contribute to the “art” displayed by the counter.
And then there is Ole Miss Women’s Soccer Coach Matthew Mott, who is a frequent customer along with his wife and three children. The Mott girls gave Dennis a special birthday present. They presented him with a picture of them holding handmade signs that state, “We Love Pizza”. The framed photo is front and center on the counter.
“I want kids to have fun. I tell them and other customers, ‘This is your place, I just work here’”, Dennis said. –– Jim Roberts
Email Jim Roberts at hottytoddynew.com