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Buffalo Chips Pizza & Pub, 322 Birch St., in historic downtown Westwood. Open Sunday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Phone: 246-2412. Photo by Stacy Fisher

Buffalo Chips renowned for its pizza

Buffalo Chips Pizza & Pub may be a whimsical name for an eatery, but the hot pizza pies are seriously delicious, hand-thrown with a tender thick or thin crust using only the freshest ingredients and cooked to perfection straight from the brick oven.

Located in downtown Westwood and featuring a rustic interior once used by the Red River Lumber Co., there’s plenty of seating available.

Buffalo Chips isn’t just comfort food, say customers. It’s a slice of heaven!

Proprietor Ryan Gibbs took over the family-operated business from his mom, Merilyn Gibbs, in 2002, after 40 years serving the surrounding region, drawing customers from as far as Susanville, Greenville, Chester and the communities of Lake Almanor and Hamilton Branch.

It’s well worth the commute, Gibbs said, and his customers whole-heartedly agree.

Online reviews rate Buffalo Chips as hands down the best pizza in Northern California, where patrons can choose from an assortment of 24 traditional toppings like pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, BBQ chicken, beef or salami, along with onions, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and olives, but also alternatives like fresh avocado!

The distinct handmade pizzas are flavorful, cheesy and meaty — all the good things you want in a pizza. Vegetarian pizza is also available and comes with onions, bell peppers, mushroom, olives and tomatoes (sprouts on request).

Besides classic red marinara sauce used on the more traditional pizza recipes, garlic cream sauce is added to the pizzeria’s gourmet pizzas that’s “garlic goodness galore!” Both sauces are made from scratch, said Gibbs.

There’s also a gluten-free pizza option as well — a smaller, personal size pizza that he said has become very popular with many of his regular customers.

If you’re more in the mood for scrumptious sandwiches, Buffalo Chips’ diverse menu offers customers such creations as the Turkey Temptation (number one favorite), Roast Beef Delight, Beefy Cheese Supreme (another top favorite slathered in BBQ sauce), The Country Club, and Grandma’s 1877 — a good old-fashioned ham sandwich served on homemade bread.

Many other sandwich choices are offered; most include a selection of cheeses like Swiss, American cheese and pepper jack infused with fiery bites of peppers, served with nachos with melted cheese. Add a small soup or salad for a small extra charge.

Speaking of which, the open garden salad bar is kept well stocked with fresh chopped romaine lettuce and a combination of fixings, with a choice of blue cheese or ranch dressings.

Along with appetizers like Jalapeno Poppers, a generous portion of Buffalo wings, homemade garlic bread and nachos, the restaurant also serves a luncheon special until 4 p.m., a great value consisting of a mini pizza or pizza sandwich and a once-thru salad bar, or soup and half a sandwich on homemade bread, or soup and salad bar option.

Seniors receive a 10 percent discount on orders if requested when you order.

And of course there’s your typical selection of self-serve fountain drinks, together with a variety of juices, milk, tea and locally roasted coffee by J.P. McWalsh Coffee Co.

And for the adults a selection of domestic and imported bottled beer, pitcher draft beer and white or red wine is offered.

You can tell the super friendly staff is customer service oriented and like working at the eatery, which can make a big difference in the quality of food at any food establishment.

Due to the popularity of the restaurant, the line to order can be long, especially in the evening hours when it’s particularly busy. Gibbs suggested calling ahead and ordering your meal at least an hour in advance to reduce your wait times.

In addition, Gibbs pointed to the back of the restaurant where a number of video games and vending machines for the kids are set up, as well as two flat-screen TVs, and free wi-fi is available.

Patrons can purchase themed sweatshirts, hats and T-shirts with the company’s logo.

There’s ample street parking directly in front and across from the establishment, so parking is never a problem. Plus a front deck is available for seating during the warmer summer months.

Eating establishments come and go, but Buffalo Chips is a hidden gem worth veering off Highway 36 to experience for yourself, boasting a great family friendly vibe and casual atmosphere. Your taste buds will thank you!

Buffalo Chips Pizza & Pub

Proprietor: Ryan Gibbs

Address: 322 Birch St., in historic downtown Westwood

Business hours: Sunday thru Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Summer hours starting Memorial Day open 7 days a week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Phone: 246-2412

Website: www.buffalochipspizza.com

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