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New restaurant spices up the pizza scene in Westwood Village

Kony Pizza, which serves Italian and New York-style food, opened on the corner of Gayley and Kinross avenues April 3. (Jacob Preal/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Sara Rashidi

April 11, 2018 1:20 a.m.

A new pizza restaurant in Westwood is serving up Italian and New York-style food.

King of New York Pizza opened at the corner of Gayley and Kinross avenues April 3. The restaurant is influenced by both Italian and New York styles of pizza to cater to more customers, said Skyler Browning, manager of Kony Pizza.

Ray Mendoca, also a manager, said Kony Pizza opened in Westwood to cater to students in the area. The restaurant has already fulfilled a few deliveries to campus and offers free Wi-Fi so students can study inside, he said.

Mendoca also said he thinks the prices at Kony Pizza are reasonable and added he would like to see the location host parties and other social events.

Browning also said he thinks the restaurant caters to multiple Westwood community members, such as workers and residents, because customers will see it as a place to relax.

“We have had a pretty mixed and diverse population of customers,” Browning said. “There have been students, older couples as well, office people, residents. … It’s been a good variety.”

Browning said he thinks the Village primarily has cafe restaurants and few pizza restaurants.

“We wanted to go more toward pizza because everyone loves pizza and there is not much competition,” he said. “And we just feel like our pizza is the best.”

Some customers said they think Kony Pizza is a welcome addition to the Westwood community.

Ryan Shum, a second-year graduate student in the urban planning department, said he thinks the pizza served at Kony Pizza is more affordable and tastes better than most other options in the Village. He added he would come back to the restaurant and that he would likely prefer it over other options in the future.

“It is only my first time so I do not have anything that they could improve on,” he said. “Just keep doing what they are doing and keep the prices the same.”

Shum, who said he usually gets pizza at the Whole Foods Market, also said he thinks Kony Pizza is run more like a locally owned restaurant rather than a corporate one because he thinks the restaurant puts more care into each of its slices of pizza.

“You have that nice local touch through it,” he said. “It is also heated up for each slice before serving, so that is a nice thing.”

Christine Naraghi, a student at UCLA Extension, said she enjoyed the restaurant because it had more pizza options and a better tasting crust than other locations in Westwood. She added she thinks the restaurant felt clean and service was quick.

“I actually got my slice very fast and did not have to wait, so I had a bit of extra time to hang around before heading to class,” she said. “I think this place is very good for those who are in rush as they have ready-to-go options and it is instant.”

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