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Take and bakers rejoice! Papa Murphy’s now open in Oakhurst

Jamal Mansell holds up a completed pizza inside his Papa Murphy’s store in Oakhurst, which he co-owns with wife Heather. One half is the Gourmet Vegetarian, and the other half is the Gourmet Chicken Bacon Artichoke, both with the artisan, gluten free, thin crust option.
Jamal Mansell holds up a completed pizza inside his Papa Murphy’s store in Oakhurst, which he co-owns with wife Heather. One half is the Gourmet Vegetarian, and the other half is the Gourmet Chicken Bacon Artichoke, both with the artisan, gluten free, thin crust option. Sierra Star

If you’re a take-and-bake pizza fan, get ready for freshness from dough to dessert, as the newest Papa Murphy’s location has opened in the heart of Oakhurst.

Franchisees Heather and Jamal Mansell, both of Mariposa, said they’ve spent nearly two years working to bring the national take-and-bake chain to the mountains.

“We raised our kids on Papa Murphy’s,” Heather said. “Every birthday party for our three daughters, every sleepover, every Super Bowl, it was always a full house, and it gave us a very affordable option to provide while tasting absolutely amazing.”

“This is our passion,” said Jamal, a native of Mariposa who attended Woodland Elementary School. “When we moved back here from Oregon in 2014, we saw there wasn’t one here, and this area needs it. There’s other take-and-bake locations, but they don’t go over the top like we do. We don’t skimp on anything, and we take pride in that.”

Since its soft opening on Tuesday, Jamal said business has been good, with around 150 orders that first day. A grand opening is planned for the fall.

Starting at around $9 for a medium cheese pizza, with online coupons good for up to $3 off, the Oakhurst location at 40004 Highway 41 offers a range of pizzas from the classic Papa’s All Meat to the Gourmet Vegetarian Delite. Sizes vary from medium (12 inches) to family (16).

To help customers find what they called an “explosion of flavor” on the very first bite, the Mansells said it’s all about fresh ingredients and customization.

Wendell Wagstaff, a Papa Murphy’s market coach who oversees some 70 stores in the Bay Area and Central Valley, said all ingredients are brought fresh to the store each day, with nearly all of them, including three of the four dough options, chopped, grated, or mixed in house.

“When you walk in, you’ll see coolers full of fresh Roma tomatoes,” Jamal said. “Whole fresh bell peppers. Zucchinis, onions, everything is fresh and it’s all chopped here. We’re not overprepping so we can keep things as fresh as absolutely possible.”

For customization, the Mansells said everything from toppings to dough is up to each guest.

“You can take any pizza on our menu and say if you don’t like pineapple and mushroom, you can substitute those out for different ingredients at no additional cost,” Jamal said. “Plus, you can take any pizza and divide it into quarters, again at no additional cost, so you can get each quarter with different ingredients and flavors just the way you like it.”

All menu options can be found at www.papamurphys.com, with online ordering available at the Oakhurst site starting tomorrow (June 13). Phone orders are also available by calling (559) 683-7772.

For dough options, the Oakhurst location offers the original, stuffed, and pan style crusts, all made using an in-store mixer each day, to a gluten free, artisan thin crust that is shipped in.

The original and gluten free thin crusts are also dairy free, so customers looking for vegan options can craft a pizza to match their diet as well, Jamal said. Dessert options include cookie dough also made in house, to a s’mores pizza as well as salads and other sides made in store.

All pizzas and several sides or desserts are take-and-bake only, meaning customers will have to cook them at home. But that’s part of the appeal, the Mansells said.

“The main philosophy is providing a pizza that’s fresh made that you can take home and bake when you’re ready,” Heather said. “For those of us who live outside of town, you can try to get a pizza home, even with delivery, but you’ll have to eat it as soon as it gets there because it’ll get cold. Here, you can call ahead, order online, pick it up, and cook it whenever you’re ready.”

If an oven isn’t available, instructions are included for grilling pizzas on barbecues at home.

The store opens at 11 a.m. every day, with closing hours set for 8 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The price of any large pizza on the menu, even those with stuffed crusts, is reduced to $10 on Tuesdays.

As the Mansells get their opening underway, with some 16 employees, including high school students, they added they’ll eventually hold fundraisers as they become a part of the community.

“We absolutely want to be extremely involved in the community and help give back,” Heather said. “We want to be a big part and do what we can to help others. I mean, we’re only in this for the pizza, really.”

Once details are worked out, the Oakhurst Papa Murphy’s will also have its own social media pages and a Dinner Circle program, which sends special deals to fans via text message after they sign up online.

Details: (559) 683-7772.

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