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By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Sergey Psarev, the new owner of 701 Pizza at 6916 Sunrise Blvd., might be a newcomer to the competitive pizza business, but he does know how to craft an exceptionally delicious thin-crust pizza.
The owners of Lil’ Blondie’s Pizza, which formerly operated out of the location, had placed their business up for sale earlier this spring. When Psarev saw it listed, he recognized the restaurant’s potential, and then quickly made an offer.
After his offer was accepted, the outgoing owners gave him a quick two-week course on the art of pizza making before officially turning their pizza paddle over to him.
In early May, 701 Pizza made its public debut, quickly earning a local reputation on Yelp, Google and Facebook alike for its flavorful pizza, wings and sandwiches.
“We were looking for a different identity when we created our new business name,” Psarev said in a recent interview with The Sentinel.
“I love numbers. Seven is a traditional lucky number, and the number one reflects my personal belief that our restaurant could be the first choice for pizza in Citrus Heights.”
Psarev was born in the former Soviet republic of Georgia and emigrated to the United States with his family in 2004. English may be his second language, he said, but his passion for owning his own business and seeing it succeed is straight out of the American dream.
“Pizza is one of the world’s most favorite foods,” he said. “And everyone makes it differently. The best pizza begins with a great crust.”
Pizza is as beloved in Psarev’s birthplace of Georgia as it is throughout the greater Mediterranean region. Georgia is a country with a proud culinary tradition — there are many parallels to European cuisine and indeed Asian influences.
It may not yet be that familiar to many, but the country lying between Turkey and Russia doesn’t fail to win over visitors thanks to its incredible traditional dish, khachapuri, its version of the classic cheese pizza.
701 Pizza is a decidedly family affair. His wife Marina, their three daughters, Ilona, Melanie and Estell, all work at the restaurant preparing dough, slicing up fresh veggies and cheese and take turns making pizza throughout the day.
701 Pizza offers a small personal pizza and drink for $5.99, a medium 12-inch for $12.99, a large 14-inch pie for $15.99 and an extra-large family style pie for $18.99. Individual toppings are $2 each.
Psarev also has a large extended family living in the Citrus Heights area and many are closely involved in helping him promote his new business venture placing flyers door to door. He is regularly behind the wheel, making pizza deliveries himself.
701 Pizza offers eight different specialty pizzas each at $7.99. Choices include the “Big Al” – a traditional all-meat pizza with homemade red tomato sauce, freshly grated mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, salami, linguica, Canadian bacon and sausage. Other selections include the Sparkly Supreme – a classic combo pizza with pepperoni, sausage, salami, bell pepper, purple onions, olives and mushrooms — and Lexi’s Luau Pizza, topped with Canadian bacon, purple onion and pineapple.
Veggie lovers may enjoy the Super Lex, which features a choice of homemade red or roasted garlic white sauce topped with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olives, bell peppers, purple onion and diced tomato, also for $7.99.
Psarev, who lives in nearby Antelope, acknowledges he still has much to learn about how to succeed in the highly competitive pizza business, especially in an age of Door Dash, Grub Hub, and social media marketing.
In time, that will involve meeting with local representatives of the Small Business Administration in Citrus Heights and working with its volunteer counselors to help his business succeed.
He said his overall menu will continue to evolve with new specialty pizzas being added and a new salad bar, which he plans to debut soon.
701 Pizza is located at 6916 Sunrise Blvd. Delivery hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday, with pickup hours available until 11 p.m. Additional information can be found online at: www.701pizza.com.
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