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Hideaway Pizza serves up hip slice of creativity

BY JENNIFER PALMER Modified: March 5, 2009 at 5:40 am •  Published: March 5, 2009
Hideaway Pizza has managed to maintain its cool for over 50 years.

The pizza restaurant is just as famous for its atmosphere — with colorful decor and often colorful employees — as it is for its pizza. So how has the restaurant, which first opened in Stillwater 52 years ago, moved gracefully into the future?

Creativity. "We have eccentric-looking employees,” said Janie Harris, Hideaway’s marketing director. "It has helped our customer base see through their own prejudices.”

It’s not uncommon to have a waiter with an unnatural color of hair or see a tattooed cook flipping pizza dough in the kitchen.

"We hire people who have outgoing personalities,” said Darren Lister, co-owner of Hideaway 2 — which includes all the stores but the original.

That business practice has helped reduce turnover, he said, because employees like to work "where they’re accepted.”

But the company also encourages its patrons to be creative, through its collage project, a 50th anniversary T-shirt design contest and other ventures.

A new generation
It’s no surprise, then, that the notoriously hip restaurant chain is now on Twitter.

Hideaway’s new social media program is run by Ryan Walker, a public relations student at the University of Central Oklahoma, who started out waiting tables at Hideaway five years ago and now manages the Edmond store.

Hideaway Pizza

1957 — Hideaway Pizza opens in Stillwater.

1960 — Richard and Marti Dermer buy Hideaway Pizza in Stillwater.

1962 — Begin delivery service in new Volkswagon Beetle.

1978 — Pente board game invented and launched by Hideaway employee Gary Gabrel.

1980 — Original location moves from Third Street to current location at 230 S Knoblock St. on Campus Corner.

1993 — First location outside of Stillwater, on Cherry Street in Tulsa, opens.

1995 — Final VW delivery Beetle retired from service in Stillwater.

1997 — First Hideaway in Oklahoma City opens on N Western.

2000 — Demolished Campus Theater and built onto existing Hideaway, doubling Stillwater seating capacity to 360.

2000 — 120 collages received for Millenium Collage Project.

2001 — Campus Corner location in Norman opens.

2002 — Opened Hideaway Pizza in Edmond in partnership with the University of Central Oklahoma Jazz Lab.

2006 — Brett Murphy and Darren Lister purchase all stores outside of Stillwater.

2007 — 50th anniversary.

2008 — New Oklahoma City location opens on Northwest Expressway in January.

2009 — Broken Arrow store to open in April.

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