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PIZZA `HOBBY' LEADS TO CASTLE ROCK CAFE

When Gail Sheehy wrote the bestseller "Passages," she described the transitions that affect our lives, but even a three-time read of the volume would have left Angela Grosley unprepared for her family's move from Salt Lake City to Price. The initial reaction was surprise, then wonder as the Grosleys explored the possibilities of their new environment.

Exploration of the Price city limits included the discovery that pizza was glaringly absent from local restaurant menus.Grosley knew she would adjust to the new neighborhoods, but the absence of pizza could not be overlooked.

After all, she admits, "I love pizza. You give me a choice between steak and a pizza, I'll take pizza every time."

So the enterprising home economist took the dough into her own hands and opened a little pizza place - just as a hobby.

It seems other folks in Price had noticed the absence of pizza power in town.

The little shop expanded to a larger site, then graduated again to a full-service restaurant called the Castle Rock Cafe & Pizza Deli.

Grosley's hobby grew into a full-time job that became a family project. Husband Barry and daughters Rosslyn and Alexis lend a hand in the operations.

"We learned so many things along the way," Grosley says. "It felt like Murphy's Law ruled our lives for a while. I grew up on an Idaho farm with five brothers, so I thought I knew how to cook for a crowd, but the bumps kept coming. Now, after 13 years, I think I finally know the business."

Business in Price includes the challenge of ethnic diversity and multinational heritage.

"I'm really Greek, but I look more Italian," says the home economist, "but that gets me two steps ahead and people think I inherited pizzamaking skills. Besides, they assume I grew up here."

Favorite family recipes trickle down through generations, leaving some folks less comfortable trying new ideas, Grosley says.

"Some of the menu items we serve require an educational background, a bit of explanation or sampling before people are willing to try them. Take the Poppyseed Cake, for example. I had people tell me I should sell that in New York City, but that it would never sell in Price. Now it's one of our top desserts," the restaurateur says.

Another challenge to operating a diversified menu in a rural environment is the availability of some ingredients.

"I have to plan ahead to order specialty items," Grosley laments. "If I run out, I can't drop by the grocery store to restock some items. I'd have to drive to Provo or maybe Salt Lake."

The transition to country living initially filled Grosley with apprehension, but the change of lifestyle turned into a boon.

"We've had so many opportunities to be involved in the community. We give coupons to the schools for free pizzas as rewards for student achievement, we help with fund-raisers and do special projects for the college. It's really a way of paying back the town for helping us. Besides, we've grown so attached to these customers; they're just like our family."

A family that rides through the bumps together and rides with optimism.

Poppyseed Cake

1 orange

1 tablespoon orange rind, grated

1 white cake mix

1 cup orange juice

1/3 cup salad oil

3 eggs

1 teaspoon orange extract

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

2 tablespoons flour

Cream Cheese Icing:

21/2 pounds powdered sugar

1 egg

11/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 pound butter, melted

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon orange extract