Village Pizza looks to cement itself in Altamont

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

It’s lighter than a slab of concrete. Bob Nopper, the owner of Helderberg Concrete, tosses pizza dough. Nopper opened his first restaurant, Village Pizza, this week in Altamont.

ALTAMONT — Village residents who know Bob Nopper may know him because he’s poured their concrete patio or pool deck, or they’ve seen him around Altamont as he and his crew have installed the village’s sidewalks for the past 12 years.

What they may not know is that, beneath the calloused hands and wind-chapped face, the owner of Helderberg Concrete is a man with a passion for for being in the kitchen.

And on Tuesday, Jan. 2, Nopper, a lifelong village resident, opened Village Pizza at 101 Prospect Terrace. This is his first restaurant.

Village Pizza has a New York-style eight-cut pizza that costs $10.99, and a 12-cut that costs $12.99, as well as a 12-cut Sicilian-style that costs $12.99.

Nopper said that the pizza is “cooked on the bricks, no pan, no screen — nothing.”

Dinners include: Ziti or spaghetti for $8.99, stuffed shells for $9.99, manicotti for $9.99, chicken parmigiana for $10.99, or baked ziti with meatball or sausage for $10.99.

The shop is a take-out and delivery restaurant, and also has seating for 28, for those who’d like to eat in.

So how does a guy who has worked in concrete get into the notoriously difficult-to-turn-a-profit restaurant industry?

To start, it helps that Nopper is not new to restaurants.

“I've done it in the past. I've done all aspects of it — I’ve ordered product,  I've done employee hours, I've managed pizzerias before,” he said. “So I know the ins and outs of it, but the most important part is that I enjoy being in the kitchen.”

And, it’s that passion for cooking, some extra time — and four young mouths to feed that has Nopper looking forward to spinning pizzas.

“I love cooking,” Nopper said. “I've done it for a long time, I've cooked in a few different restaurants over the past 15 years, off and on. I love being in the kitchen and making food for people.”

Nopper’s concrete business is seasonal; each winter, he finds himself with four to five months of downtime. And with four young children all under the age of 13 at home, there’s also a passion to pay bills.

But really, it’s about being back in the kitchen.

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