Cary Kemp becomes sole proprietor for Pizzeria 22
Pizzeria 22 (4213 SW College Street) in the Admiral District began in 2011 by Cary Kemp and a business partner after Kemp spent decades in the restaurant business (and a significant detour as a rock star road manager). It was meant to echo the narrow urban pizzerias found in major cities and with authentic Italian ingredients, preparation and equipment, quickly grew into a West Seattle favorite.
Kemp developed the business, adding a large 50 seat space next door in 2014, but found he wanted to go in directions that were constrained by the partnership and last week, bought out his former partner to become the sole proprietor. He now has the freedom to introduce a late night happy hour from 9pm to 10pm closing on weekdays, some new pizzas, a roasted beet and goat cheese salad, and a new calzone.
The dining space next door will get new paint, new soundproofing and new decor in the next few months Kemp said. A longer term plan is to add windows between the main and second rooms to open up the space visually.
Kemp whose family lived in Ballard began his restaurant journey working for Burger King, then The Wharf Restaurant and eventually as his expertise grew he became a chef and wore other hats in the business too. He took a break from the restaurant industry (but used his well developed organizational skills) to become road manager for Neil Young for a few years, keeping a touring company of musicians and roadies on track and his boss happy. But the arrival of children and his love of food brought him back to the business.
Now he has moved to Burien and has two daughters, "who listen to Ariana Grande music" he said laughing though he sometimes tries to broaden their horizons by letting them hear a broader selection. He has become woven into the West Seattle community by being supportive of causes for schools and children throughout the year, and loves being on his own, able to make decisions his own way.
Kemp is also serving as a restaurant consultant for other companies seeking to add pizza to their menu, notably local wine company, Nine Hats on 1st Ave South.