TWO PEAS IN A POD — Big G’s manager Linda Geraghty (left) poses with her cook and right-hand woman Marcia Hoffman. Photo by Lizz Schumer.
SPRINGVILLE — Marcia Hoffman saved Linda Geraghty’s life, when the West Valley women were 10 years old. The girls were waterskiing when Geraghty fell into the water and began to drown. Hoffman jumped in and saved her, “before the boat could even turn around,” according to Geraghty. Decades later, the two are involved in another rescue mission, with Geraghty at the helm of Big G’s Pizzeria, reopened this month. With Hoffman in the kitchen, a new menu and a renewed dedication to “God and country,” Geraghty said that with her childhood friend at her side, “failure is not an option.”
Big G’s is named after its owner, George Ferner, a 6-foot-5-inch former football player who, in Geraghty’s words, “is built like a Mack truck.” Ferner opened Big G’s in September but, due to “many bumps in the road” and his own health crisis, Ferner shuttered the restaurant in January 2013.
Upon his recovery, Ferner brought Geraghty on deck to bring the place back from the dead. And at that time, Geraghty said she was looking for a resurrection of her own.
Her boyfriend, Bill Scharff, 55, had died suddenly, leaving Geraghty alone and floundering, having come back to West Valley to care for her aging parents. She had left two sons in Maryland, where she’d put down roots for 22 years.
“I said, ‘OK Lord, now what? I’m not going to say God appeared and he said, ‘I see pizza dough in your future,’ but I had a good feeling that, if done right, I could bring this pizzeria back,” Geraghty explained. “Not by myself, but, as the Beatles would sing, ‘With a little help from my friends.’”
That’s where Hoffman came in. “She’s my secret weapon,” Geraghty explained. The cook comes with a career’s worth of restaurant experience and according to the manager, “runs a tight ship.”
The once-extensive menu has been pared down to the basics: Pizza, wings, subs, salads, the Big G Burger and sides.
“One thing that sets our pizza apart is our three different sauces,” the manager said. “You have your choice of traditional, sweet basil and spicy garlic.” The pizzeria is cash-only and offers delivery, for a charge.
In keeping with Geraghty’s mission to support the military, Big G’s also offers a 10 percent military discount, every day. Ferner is a marine and served in Vietnam, Geraghty has one son in the air force and one in the army, Hoffman’s father served in Korea with the air force and her husband served in the army.
“We are grateful to all those men and women, past and present, who have served this great nation of ours,” Geraghty said. “And we want to show that, not just on Veterans Day or the Fourth of July, but every day, because you’re a veteran every day.”
As the pizzeria works through its first month back in business, Geraghty said that, after a “surprisingly good” first few weeks, she sees success in her future.
“Financially, Big G’s has an uphill battle to catch up with our creditors. But, with the grace of God, we will succeed. It is up to him to decide how quickly Big G’s can become profitable,” she said.
As for the West Valley ladies, Geraghty plans to run the restaurant the same way she runs her own life: With her “powerful faith and respect for our military.
“It’s not that Springville is really in need of another pizza joint, but any town could use a really fabulous, family-friendly pizza parlor,” she noted. “Welcome to the re-opening of Big G’s.”
Big G’s is located at 689 East Main St., at the corner of Route 240. The business is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Tuesday. Big G’s can be reached at 597-7865.