Local pizza man’s charitable efforts worth gobbling about

Cliff Montano hands out turkeys on Nov. 21 in front of his business, Brick Oven Pizza and Subs, as he has done for the past four years.  John Gardner / The Surveyor

Cliff Montano hands out turkeys on Nov. 21 in front of his business, Brick Oven Pizza and Subs, as he has done for the past four years.
John Gardner / The Surveyor

By Katie Harris
The Surveyor

When asked why he gives so much to the community he calls home, Cliff Montano’s response was, “Why not?”

The owner of Brick Oven Pizza and Subs is known for his charity. In Windsor, he began a Coats for Folks effort that still goes on today. He turned his former Christmas tree stand into trees for free when he realized he wasn’t making money off it anyway. He’s provided scholarships for local kids, and even car giveaways when the mood strikes.

It was nothing out of the ordinary when the local businessman decided to give away free turkeys to the Berthoud community four years ago.

Montano said the idea originally stemmed from well-known charitable Denver restauranteur, Daddy Bruce.

“I used to see him handing out turkeys on TV when I was younger, and the idea stuck with me,” said Montano.

Montano purchased over 100 turkeys that first year and spread the word they’d be available for pickup at Brick Oven Pizza the week of Thanksgiving. The turkeys went fast and a Berthoud Thanksgiving tradition was born.

This year, due to a turkey plague that hit the industry earlier in the season making the birds scarce and expensive, Montano said it was challenging to get ahold of turkeys in time for the holiday.

“I had to go down a size to 10-12 lb. turkeys instead of 12-to-14 in order to get a decent number,” said Montano.

His numbers did drop a bit for 2016, with a total of 108 smaller turkeys available compared to 126 he was able to purchase last year, but he said it could have been worse.

“The Hays brothers (owners of Hays Market) helped me out and got me a deal so that we could still have plenty of turkeys,” he said.

Montano’s turkey giveaway took place the Monday before Thanksgiving. Within 27 minutes every last turkey was spoken for.

“A lot of my customers come in for a turkey each year, but they are for anyone who needs one,” said Montano. “They are for working class people like me, people with kids, people who might have a primary turkey already but need a second one for family coming to town; anyone’s welcome.”

Montano said he expects the tradition to continue in coming years.

“We make a lot from the community, so we give back to the community,” he said. “That’s all.”