Heading to Long Beach? Craving NY style pizza? Well, you’re in luck! Little Coyote is the place to go — one bite and you’ll be mentally transported to a pizza shop on a busy corner deep in the Bronx.
But we know what you’re thinking… NY style pizza in LA? There’s no way. But founders, Jack Leahy and Jonathan Strader, saw a gap in the market for east coast pizza in Long Beach and decided to bring the people of LA huge slices of cheesy, doughy goodness.
Leahy and Strader said it best themselves, “We are just a couple of guys with the idea of opening a small business in a local community. We don’t come from much and food has been our career since our first jobs many moons ago. We worked hard to build a place for the community to gather and create memories, and did so with not much more than a dream, a lot of luck, and hard work.”
So, how did a dream quickly turn into one of Long Beach’s most popular pizza joints with two busy locations? Keep reading to find out.
A Little Background
As mentioned, Leahy and Strader are just a couple of guys who had a vision; however, that vision, a lot of luck, some hard work, and a history working in restaurants was the drive and motivation they needed to open a restaurant.
Their plan was simple: Craft an approachable menu in an effort to reach a wider audience and share what they love doing with as many people as possible.
Backed by a plan and motivated by a dream, Leahy and Strader found the space that would soon house their very first location in March of 2020. Soon after, the pandemic struck and the world shut down for the foreseeable future.
However, plans to open Little Coyote didn’t come to a halt; instead, Leahy and Strader stuck to their vision and opened their very first restaurant location in June of 2020 — they describe the process as an “organic approach” given that they didn’t have much of an option other than to open, due to the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Go-To Menu Items
Regulars and first-time visitors both agree: Little Coyote is the best pizza in town. While anything ordered from the menu is sure to satisfy your pizza cravings, Leahy and Strader have a few recommendations if you can’t seem to make a choice:
The local favorite is the White Pie, a white sauce-based pizza with garlic, mozzarella, spinach, ricotta cheese, and Calabrian chilis (the star of this pie, in our opinion). But for foodies wanting to mix it up a bit, Little Coyote features a rotating specialty pizza that changes every week — perfect incentive to pay frequent visits and try something new.
Oh, and one last tip straight from the owners themselves: Don’t sleep on the thick focaccia-style grandma slices! Drown it in the restaurant’s homemade ranch for the ultimate homestyle experience.
Little Coyote Gives Back
This Long Beach hotspot may be called ‘Little Coyote,’ but the impact they have on their community isn’t so little.
From the very beginning, Leahy and Strader knew they wanted to open their business in Long Beach, sharing that, “Long Beach is an eclectic city with a lot of different options for food, but we felt like NY Style Pizza was definitely lacking and we wanted to fill that void for the city.”
Eclectic is the perfect adjective to describe Long Beach — a community that encourages diversity and quirkiness, it’s a city where anyone can feel welcome.
Leahy and Strader have nothing but good things to say about their local community; however, it’s the actions they take to support Long Beach that make this small business really stand out. Instead of viewing every local restaurant as competition, Leahy and Strader regularly collaborate with smaller local businesses and fellow restaurants in an effort to promote the community and build an environment where every restaurant can thrive. Additionally, they’ve sponsored local kid’s baseball, soccer, and flag football teams while remaining open and excited to participate in other opportunities to contribute to the Long Beach community.
What To Do In Long Beach, CA.
And finally, when asked about the best spots in the surrounding area, Leahy and Strader have plenty of suggestions for the curious visitor.
Given that Long Beach really has it all, they recommend kid-friendly parks such as El Dorado, the aquatic parks near Naples, or the LB Aquarium; however, if you’re down to get a babysitter for the night, Leahy and Strader recommend visiting the local dive bars. From The Pike and the world-famous Joe Jost’s (if you know, you know), to checking out a show or trying to impress the crowd with karaoke at Alex’s Bar, there’s plenty of nightlife opportunities in this port town.
If you’d prefer to spend some time by the water, be sure to check out Rosie’s Dog Beach or grab a boat and head out into the harbor for a sunset boat cruise.
Craving Little Coyote now? Us too. See you there!