By Julia Jones, Correspondent
Santa came to town a little early this year, parking his sleigh and grabbing a bite to eat at Fire Street Pizza two days before Christmas.
The recently opened pizza shop welcomed families to a night of live music and quality time with Santa Claus on Saturday, Dec. 23. The restaurant was packed while pianist and singer Welsh Avenue performed original music mixed in with Christmas songs and Santa posed for photos and spoke with children.
Fire Street, located in rural Belton off of FM 439, opened up in early November and is already full almost every night, according to Brumbalow. He attributes his success to the amount of effort he, his wife, and his staff put into the restaurant.
“This is not the greatest of locations,” he said. “I knew that if we did this out here, we had to put enough into it to make it a no-brainer for people to come out. I had to work very hard on the atmosphere, I had to work very hard on the branding, we had to work extra hard on our recipes.”
The Santa who made an appearance at Fire Street, also known as Jerry Wilson, grew up with Brumbalow and has been acting the part of Santa for his kids since they were born. Brumbalow wanted to carry on this tradition with his restaurant.
Wilson has seen Fire Street evolve from an idea to reality, but he was missing one aspect of the restaurant’s full experience–the food.
“I’ve not yet had a piece of pizza,” he said. “But tonight before I leave, I’m getting a piece, if there’s any left.”
Nora Frobish lives in Corpus Christi but came to Belton to spend Christmas with her family. She said her 3-year-old, Jaxon, chose the restaurant for the pizza, but she ended up really enjoying the atmosphere.
“I think it’s really cool,” Frobish said. “I like that they have a little place for the kids to play. It’s good for the kids and adults.”
Brumbalow plans on having more live music on the outdoor stage when the weather gets warmer, but for now, he’s focusing on soloist and duos. His goal is to establish Fire Street as a music venue like Schoepf’s, but more family friendly.
“That’s part of the grand vision, but we have to start small,” he said.
For Fire Street, starting small means focusing on the craft of pizza-making, blending techniques and ingredients of traditional Italian cooking and flavors that Texans favor.
“I think more people appreciate the pizza they know and love being made in an Italian style,” he said. “And it seems to be working.”