She's been cooking American breakfasts for nearly a decade at the Best Western Newport Mesa Inn on Newport Boulevard, but times have been tough these days, so Francesca Gibson-Tucker has decided to branch out — Italian-style.
Every Friday for the past few months, the Costa Mesa chef and 1974 graduate of Newport Harbor High School has been letting the customers build their own pizzas — from rolling the dough to pouring on the marinara sauce to loading up favorite toppings.
So far, the "Build your own Pizza" night at the hotel's restaurant, between the hours of 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., has been a success since it started a few months ago. And the more people who come in the merrier for Gibson-Tucker, a mother of four whose career has been hardscrabble at best.
"We're talking about $7 for a personal pan pizza and a salad," said Gibson-Tucker. "But people are funny; they always end up making the pies a little bit bigger. They start out with a personal pan then pretty soon it becomes a medium, then a large."