Ask almost any person on the street what they remember about the 2014 Oscars, and chances are they’ll answer, “the pizza.” In one of the more hilarious and touching moments in Oscars history, host Ellen DeGeneres ordered pizza during the broadcast and brought a delighted delivery man into the theater, to deliver slices to Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, and other A-listers.
To the average person, this was an entertaining interlude during one of the most-watched broadcasts of the year. But to any small business owner, the takeaway was, “that pizza joint just got some of the best free publicity in history.”
Sure enough, that Oscars appearance vaulted said pizza joint, and its now-famous delivery man, to fast fame. The man on camera was Edgar Martirosyan, co-owner of the Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria in West Hollywood. He became an instant celebrity, earning a slew of interviews, international media appearances, and a well-publicized $1,000 tip from Ellen herself.
In the year since his massive good fortune, Martirosyan hasn’t wasted his lucky moment in the spotlight. His pizzeria soon became a chain, with several new locations in the area. And now, he and his brother recently opened Wood Handcrafted Pizza, a more upscale restaurant focused on artisanal ingredients shipped straight from Italy.
Martirosyan knows how to keep his offerings relevant to the celebrity clientele, so the fantastic publicity opportunities haven’t dried up. Wood wisely offers a vegan pie, in line with DeGeneres’ publicized vegan diet. The TV star recently Tweeted: “Edgar, my Oscars pizza guy, brought lunch for my staff! He has a new restaurant in Silverlake called Wood Handcrafted Pizza. It’s amazing.”
Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.