Fall, 1975 -- At the time there were few places to eat in the neighborhood. Five Potrero Hill residents decided to do something about this. Phil DeAndrade, Karen (Clark) Monley, Ruthann Dickinson and Joel and Loris Lipski each kicked in some borrowed money and took over the Hollander, a burnt-out ribs and hamburger joint at the corner of 18th and Connecticut.
Goat Hill was a shoestrings operation. Phil was the only restaurateur; Joel, learning on the job, built the original counters and walk-in refrigerator and, with help from contractor neighbors John Goulet and Bill Stokes, did all the wiring and plumbing. Everyone took turns cooking pizza, waiting on tables, washing dishes, mopping up at night. Ruthann was the first table attendant. Loris was in charge of the homemade soups, sauces and dressings – all the while taking care of new daughter Jennifer – three months older than the restaurant. Karen came home from her job in the financial district to help out; her daughter Beth became the first dishwasher; Patti Horan was the first employee. Other family members and Potrero Hill friends made Goat Hill a neighborhood project.
We chose the name Goat Hill after seeing old photographs of goats roaming the rocky outcroppings on Potrero Hill among the tents and temporary housing that were the post-earthquake homes of Irish and eastern European settlers.
The original décor was in the style of the times: uncomfortable wooden benches in dark booths decorated with macramé cobwebs. Bill Stokes donated the piano that is still in use; and soon Harold Bradford was entertaining at the keyboard a couple of times a week.
The building was half the size it is now. The back dining room was a vacant lot – a perfect rocky pasture for the restaurant’s pet and mascot…. Goat Hilda. Hilda had two kids, Loretta and Bucky; and the three of them remained neighborhood pets until the 1985 expansion when they found a new home at the Sonoma State Hospital in Glen Ellen.
For thirty-eight years, there have been many new faces and new menu items, but we trust that Goat Hill Pizza is still the same welcoming neighborhood place, serving the great food and friendliness that we had in mind back in 1975.