Syrian immigrant invested his savings to open his Main Street shop

Published in the October 30, 2013 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Staff Report

Photo by Marty Cheek Hamdey Altayyeb builds a pizza in his My Pizza restaurant. He opened the shop in 1994 and has been creating delicious pies ever since.

Photo by Marty Cheek
Hamdey Altayyeb builds a pizza in his My Pizza restaurant. He opened the shop in 1994 and has been creating delicious pies ever since.

In Morgan Hill, there’s pizza and then there’s My Pizza. When South Valley residents are in the mood for an extra special pizza pie, they go to My Pizza, a locally-owned restaurant with a reputation of putting high quality ingredients in the gourmet pizzas it serves customers.

Since he opened his pizza shop in a West Main Avenue shopping center in 1994, owner Hamdey Altayyeb has followed a business philosophy of giving good value to his customers. My Pizza’s reputation has grown over the years whether it is school children buying a $3 slice for a snack or Silicon Valley corporations as far away as Mountain View asking My Pizza to deliver a stack of gourmet pizzas for a meeting luncheon.

Altayyeb emphasizes that never scrimping on the quality of the cheeses, meats, veggies and dough has made My Pizza’s reputation in the region. His customers pay a little more because of the higher-priced ingredients, but the experience of biting into a delicious gourmet pizza makes the extra cost well worth it.

“I’m attracting the kind of people who are willing to pay more to get more,” he said. “And so I have to be honest, because I have promised my customers to give them the best quality product.”

Altayyeb came to the United States from his home country of Syria in 1989 to work as a software developer. After living in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Toledo Ohio for a short time, he moved to California, and found work as a dishwasher at a pizza restaurant in the San Luis Obispo area. The more he learned about the pizza business, the more he liked it. In 1994, he put his savings on the line and started his My Pizza business in Morgan Hill.

“When I opened, I had to do a lot of marketing by myself by putting flyers on doors and working late hours at night,” he said. “It took us a while to get known in town but everybody was so kind and welcoming.”

Altayyeb thinks of making pizza as a creative experience. He believes in developing unique pizza products that are different than the usual fare found in pizza chains. He worked over the years to perfect his pizza recipes, often tinkering with the ingredients to get the right combination for a mouth-watering experience for his customers.

“Basically, we give people different flavors that they can enjoy on their pie,” he said. “We even have seafood. If you like prawns and lemon pepper and garlic sauce, you can have them on a pizza.”

A recent creation of his, the Hot Pastrami Pizza, is a virtual sandwich on pizza bread and has fast become a best-seller. His Chicken Masterpiece Pizza along and his Shrimp Lovers Pizza are also favorites. Non-pizza specialties at My Pizza include the Greek Feta Salad and the Spicy Hot Wings. The wings have a generous portion of meat and are baked instead of fried to make them healthier. All My Pizza pizzas are available in the 10-inch portion size on gluten-free dough.

Marty Cheek

Publisher at Morgan Hill Life
Marty Cheek is the publisher of Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy Life. He is also the co-author with Congressman Jerry McNerney of the book Clean Energy Nation: Freeing America From the Tyranny of Fossil Fuels.
Email: marty@morganhilllife.com
Phone: (408) 782-7575
Marty Cheek