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Corina Topete is the owner of Jerry's Pizza in downtown Bakersfield.

Jerry’s Pizza has been the go-to spot in Bakersfield since its founding in 1992 by Jerry Baranowski.

Jerry’s became an institution in the downtown area, developing a reputation for its live shows. Over the years, notable bands such as Paramore, Senses Fail, Korn and more have taken to the stage in the restaurant’s basement.

It has been roughly a year since Baranowski has retired and new owners Corina and Ernesto Topete bought the restaurant. It is has been their dedication and passion that has brought new innovations to keep Jerry’s alive.

Ernesto and his wife, Corina, have been very fond of Jerry’s and its live entertainment for many years. Ernesto used to work at Jerry’s when he was 16 years old and saw the life of Jerry’s pizza at its youngest stage. When Jerry was ready to sell, he called Ernesto and asked if he was interested.

Corina responded with: “Why not? I love a challenge.”

Ernesto witnessed Jerry’s in its youth and now he’s able to see Jerry’s all grown up.

“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “It’s nice to use to work here and now own it.”

Jerry’s was often seen as a teen hang out spot, but with the new ideas from the new owners, its scenery is maturing to bring in a wide variety of customers and entertainment. There is now a wider music genre at Jerry’s, such as country music, classic rock, blues, rock, Spanish rock and more.

They’ve even added a show called “Grown Folks Music,” which is every first Friday of the month where they play ’90s R&B. There also has been a new renovation to Jerry’s basement. The original bar in the basement, which was taken down, has been resurrected by the new owners.

The menu has even had a some new additions, now offering more variety and better quality. Some new additions include chile verde fries, carne asada fries, street tacos and chicken calzones. All meats are smoked, cut and marinated in-house, offering a better quality and freshness to the menu.

Not everyone was for the changes, however.

Some patrons took to social media to voice their displeasure over the broadening of live entertainment options, sending messages via Facebook to express their concerns.

But the new owners were undeterred.

“We are still here for music and local bands who want to make their mark on Jerry’s Pizza,” Corina said.

The owners went on to explain that rock and punk are still well and alive at Jerry’s; they are just adding more variety to bring in more customers.

As Jerry’s Pizza experiences new changes, it has grown up into an environment teens and adults can enjoy – a warm and welcoming place for a variety of live entertainment in the heart of Bakersfield.

As Corina Topete said: “You don’t have to leave Bakersfield to find good entertainment.” 

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