Asked why he opened his own pizza shop Carlos Esquivel doesn’t hesitate to answer: “I used to have one week of vacation every year. By Wednesday the was boss calling me to be back by Friday.”
During a shore vacation in 2016 with his family, the chef of 15 years had had enough of being on call during his time off.
“I started looking for my own pizza shop,” Esquivel said. “I was good at cooking. I said, ‘I’m going to make this work.’”
Moving quickly, Esquivel, of Newtown, found the perfect spot on Lincoln Highway and by October 2016, had opened Yordana’s Pizza II.
The quaint pizzeria features close to 30 varieties of gourmet pizza, plus Mexican staples like tacos, burritos, fajitas and nachos, a wide selection of hot and cold sandwiches, pastas, and entrees.
It’s not every day that a pizzeria will feature Italian specialties alongside Mexican food.
“I just came up with that,” he said, noting that he concocts his own recipes. “I didn’t know how to cook Spanish food. I invented that myself.”
Pizzas are always hot menu items. Customer favorites include Margherita, Brooklyn, Upside Down and Buffalo Chicken. The shop also offers seven kinds of pizza by the slice each day - usually best sellers – and specialties like Taco Pizza and more traditional choices of pepperoni, sausage and plain.
The restaurant’s more than a dozen wraps – including Baja Chicken, Steak Fajita and Monterey – are also big hits, typically selling 400 per week.
These days the owner is not cooking much but is instead creating the recipes his employees follow in making his specialties.
“They have to follow the recipes. That’s the key,” he said, adding that using the same quality ingredients is equally as important. “I don’t change anything. I keep my quality. That’s why a lot of people go out of business because they change the quality.”
Esquivel is still working to build up his catering business, which features a variety of appetizers, pans of pastas, salads, sandwich trays, entrees including Chicken Marsala and Eggplant Rollatini and Mexican food trays.
Since Yordana’s Pizza II is primarily takeout and delivery, business was not drastically impacted by the pandemic.
“My community likes my food and they support me,” he said. “We did really good. I’m not complaining.”
Soon Esquivel hopes to permanently close the eatery’s dining room to make room for a separate counter for ice cream sales. He is still working out details but is considering adding soft serve ice cream machines.
The restaurant offers a loyalty program for in-shop purchases where customers earn points for every dollar spent. Customers who order online 10 times receive an order free.
Nearly four years after he first opened his own business, Esquivel said he still struggles to squeeze in a week of vacation.
“We close one day a week now,” he said. “I make sure I get my day off; the employees get their day off.”
When a driver or cook cannot come to work, Esquivel must switch from owner to worker – but he’s OK with that.
“It’s a little different if you own a business.”
To learn more
Yordana’s Pizza II is located at 636 Lincoln Highway in Fairless Hills. The pizza shop is open for eat-in, takeout and delivery Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Catering orders require at least 24 hours’ notice. For more information or to place an order, call 215-428-0930 or visit www.yordanaspizzarest2.com.