Pizza Den owners proud to continue restaurant’s legacy as it celebrates first year in business

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 10:19 PM EST
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - The Pizza Den has been a part of the Salem community for decades. After the original closed down, a close family friend didn’t want to let the tradition end.

”When we all found out it was closing, so many people were pouring out their love and we were like, we can’t let this legacy die,” said Jason Booker, who owns the Pizza Den with his father, Richard, and wife Olha.

The Bookers are celebrating their first full year as owners of the Pizza Den. Its legacy and being close friends with the previous owners weren’t the only reasons they wanted to keep it open.

“We realized that a lot of the employees that we’d come to love over the years might lose their jobs.”

Booker was able to bring the majority of the original crew with him and many are still there today. The Bookers’ first year in business hasn’t come without challenges.

“Taking over the responsibility of something that had been there for so long was a little scary, it was a little scary and whether or not people would still come to a buffet during the pandemic, it was a big risk.”

That risk has come with reward.

“As the year went along, it just warmed my heart to see the reception we got and to see things that we had done, matter to people.”

Booker has loved hearing his customers talk about their memories of the original Pizza Den. But he also enjoys being able to provide a his own type of experience, mainly doing that through arcade games.

“Not only do the kids play them, but the parents play with them and those are things that push us to keep going. When things got rough, we were like, well look at the memories we make, with these things we’ve done.”

The Bookers aren’t going to celebrate for too long; they already have their sights set on new food and service options.

For more information on the Pizza Den, you can find its Facebook here.

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