Papa Baldys Pizza owner Aileen Nuttall, also known as Mama Baldy, (right) has rebuilt and is expanding her business with encouragement from customers and with help from staff like Brooke Ranger (left). Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff

Pizzeria owner says never give up

A year after a pickup smashed through the front of Papa Baldy’s Pizza it is expanding

There were times admits Aileen Nuttall that she was ready to put away her pizza pans for good.

Her husband John Winterbottom, the gregarious face behind Papa Baldy’s Pizza, had died unexpectedly in October 2017.

And then four months later in February, the pizzeria in the West Park Shopping Centre was left in ruins after a pickup backed through the front door and window, injuring one of her employees and leaving the others shaken.

For Nuttall — Mama Baldy — it felt like her family was attacked.

Nuttall and her husband’s pizza dreams began three years earlier. The couple had met 10 years earlier at Bentley’s Monkey Top Saloon.

“I was a cook. He was a biker,” she says with a laugh.

Riding motorcycles was a hobby, Winterbottom had made his living on the road as an oilfield trucker.

“He’s done the ice road truck thing, he’s done it all.”

But he had always dreamed of opening a pizza restaurant and when the opportunity arose in 2016 the pair took the plunge.

From the start, they had a vision. Their pizza was going to be the best they could make it — dough rolled on site, all natural ingredients, fresh vegetables cut in the morning and their own cheese blend, including locally sourced products and no soy fillers. Their donair meat comes all the way from Nova Scotia, where they found a supplier with the tastiest meat.

This was no overnight success story. Opening a new restaurant is tough and Baldy pounded the pavement every day distributing menus to local businesses from one end of the city to the other. They even reached out to local schools and started doing hot lunches.

“He just had the gift of the gab. He just went out and drummed up sales. He knew once we got people to taste the pizza they would like it and they would be back.”

You won’t find a deep fryer at Papa Baldy’s, 3722 57 Ave. “Even our French fries are oven-baked.

“That’s how we did it. We wanted to make really good food and concentrate on the basics and do it well.”

Papa Baldy’s became a success — and then Nuttall had to start all over again.

After the crash, “I didn’t know if I could come back,” she says.

But friends and customers rallied behind her, told her Papa Baldy’s was too good a pizzeria to let go.

She was convinced to go to a food and beverage show at Westerner Park and the experience proved inspirational.

“We were the best booth. We sold 72 large pizzas, cut into 16 slices. Everybody was so happy to see me back.”

Nine weeks after the pizzeria was almost destroyed, the doors were open again. Nine months later, she is now on the verge of opening a sit-down restaurant.

That was another dream of Baldy’s, who always believed his pizza was best straight out of the oven and wanted to prove it to customers. The restaurant is expected to open in a few days.

“I support this community of West Park and they support me. I love them for it,” she says. “West Park is its own little community.”

For those facing challenges in their life, Nuttall has a message.

“Just get up and do it again. Keep trying. There is no failure.

“Just keep going.”

For more information go to www.papabaldyspizza.com or see their Facebook page.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Here’s a look at what happened during the first day of the… Continue reading

Calgarian takes gold in women’s speedskating

Brooklyn McDougall competed in long track 1,500-metre speedskating event

Speedskaters pick up Alberta’s first Winter Games medals

Calgary’s Brooklyn McDougall wins gold and Lethbridge’s Kaleb Muller wins silver

Red Deer gymnast hopes to flip his way to a personal best

Zach Blakely is looking forward to the ‘community’ aspect of Games

Youngest Alberta athlete at Red Deer’s Canada Winter Games focuses on the win

Emily Liu, 10, beats much larger table tennis players

VIDEO: Community ‘comes together’ at opening ceremonies

The nation will focus its eyes on Red Deer for the next… Continue reading

South African activists try to protect endangered pangolins

JOHANNESBURG — As World Pangolin Day is marked around the globe, Saturday,… Continue reading

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt, B.C.

Greg and Gerry Latham spent Friday morning scrambling to pack up family… Continue reading

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual assault: British newspaper

LONDON — A British newspaper says police in London are investigating an… Continue reading

Graham: U.S. should be stronger on Canadians detained in China

MUNICH — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday the response by the… Continue reading

Conservative leaders to attend pro-pipeline rally in Saskatchewan

By Stephanie Taylor THE CANADIAN PRESS MOOSOMIN, Sask. — Federal Tory leader… Continue reading

Games athletes making themselves at home at RDC

Red Deer College’s campus will be home for the athletes during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

Welcome message from the mayor

On behalf of Red Deer city council, the City of Red Deer… Continue reading

Most Read