Executive Chef / Co-Owner
Michelle Wilton discovered her talent in the kitchen as a child when she baked her first perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies and vowed to become a life-long cook. A graduate from San Francisco’s prestigious California Culinary Academy (CCA), Wilton developed and refined her cooking skills with a myriad of high-profile kitchen jobs, but it was her discovery of and appreciation for local and seasonal produce that ultimately informed her true culinary style, a passion she has carried and maintained throughout her culinary career.
After completing her studies in 1999, Wilton initiated her culinary path with a series of positions in the kitchen starting with pastries at Garibaldi’s in San Francisco in 1999. From there, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked in the celebrated pastry kitchens at L’Orangerie in 2000 and Patina in 2002. She also has held some front of the house positions, starting at Cha Cha Cha in 2003 as a pastry chef, bartender and then General Manager. She then moved to David Myers’ acclaimed Sona in 2004 as a front of the house captain. After years in other chef’s kitchens, Wilton craved independence which motivated her to develop her own business as a private chef, where she flourished and truly found her niche.
As an Eagle Rock resident for over eight years, Wilton recognized the burgeoning up-and-coming food community in her neighborhood and decided to put her culinary expertise to the test, opening her very own restaurant, Four Café, with her husband Corey Wilton in 2009. Now, as the chef and owner of the thriving seven-year-old neighborhood restaurant, she develops the menu seasonally and can often be found at the café tasting, cooking, or putting together a custom catering menu for special events.
After tremendous success with her cafe, Wilton decided to venture on to her next project, Piencone Pizzeria, Creamery and Pub, located just a few blocks away from Four Café. Having always dreamed about a neighborhood wood-fired pizza concept with its own seasonally-driven creamery, she decided that it was time to turn that dream into a reality when the perfect space for her concept presented itself.
At Piencone Pizzeria, Creamery and Pub, Wilton aims to create a culinary oasis in Eagle Rock that serves wood-fired pizzas made with naturally leavened dough complemented by a kickass craft beer and bar program and gourmet and seasonal, home-made ice cream. Wilton continues to bring her cooking philosophy to life at Piencone, utilizing almond wood and the freshest peak season ingredients to create a true, unique balance of textures and flavors.
As a female chef, Wilton aspires to be a positive role model for her two young boys. When she isn’t in the kitchen or crafting the next menu for an upcoming concept, Wilton can be found breaking out in an elevator dance party with her little ones or hiking with her husband and business partner, Corey Wilton.
Echo Park native, Herb Gualpa, brings his genuine love and passion for all things beverage and hospitality to his role as Bar Manager and part owner at Piencone Pizzeria, Creamery & Pub in Eagle Rock. After receiving a degree from Cal State Los Angeles in English as well as a masters in Education, Gualpa took the natural next step to pursue a teaching career. After seventeen years in the classroom, it became increasingly clear that he was ready for a new direction. Armed with a passion for craft beer and years of management experience, Gualpa began to pursue his dream to own a bar. It didn’t take long for Herb to learn of a project taking shape in the area that would offer locals a new neighborhood spot for pizza, ice cream and a pub. After just one meeting with fellow eastside residents Corey and Michelle Wilton, the trio began to put plans together for the soon-to-open Piencone Pizzeria, Creamery & Pub. As Bar Manager at Piencone’s pub, Gualpa marries his true love for drinking beer with his passion for entertaining to bring Eagle Rock an authentic, community-focused bar experience. Gualpa’s go-getter style and innate sense of leadership make up the backbone of his business approach, while his years of keeping large groups of middle schoolers in line also act as a true added bonus to his management style. Herb knows firsthand how tight knit the Eagle Rock community is and plans for Pub 1954 to continue to fuel that atmosphere as a space for guests to shape life-long memories with old and new friends.
When Gualpa isn’t behind the bar, he can be found taking his daughters to roller derby or martial arts practice five days a week, while icing their bruises the other two days. On his free time, Gualpa enjoys checking out local punk bands, playing shuffleboard and sipping on his favorite beers, a Pilsner or Hefeweizen.
Bar Manager / Co-Owner
Director of Operations / Co-Owner
Corey Wilton brings a unique mixture of skills to his current position as Director of Operations at Piencone Pizzeria, Creamery and Pub in Eagle Rock. After many successful years in the music industry and in the private art world where he gained key design and aesthetic knowledge, he changed career paths to work with his wife, Michelle, to handle all things operational as they developed the concept and opened their first Eagle Rock restaurant, Four Café.
Four Café is the result of the couple’s search for close-knit culinary communities like the ones that they discovered in their travels throughout San Diego, Seattle and New York. As they began developing the restaurant they incorporated much of their travel-based inspirations to develop a family friendly neighborhood restaurant which has quietly and effortlessly become an anchor in the community and a go-to Eagle Rock eatery.
Wilton soon recognized the tremendous need and opportunity for approachable restaurants to flourish in his up-and-coming Eagle Rock neighborhood, so, with his wife, decided to concept his next restaurant venture, Piencone Pizzeria, Creamery & Pub. After seeing the unique, multi-dimensional restaurant space, Wilton knew that it was the perfect place to bring the Piencone vision to life - a new space to bring the community together over great pizzas, ice cream and beer. Working side by side to with his wife and their business partner Herb Gualpa, Wilton contributes his astute design knowledge, cultivating the aesthetic at Piencone Pizzeria, Creamery & Pub to build their dream from the ground up.
Wilton’s background in music has also played a hand in the development of the Piencone name. A Beatles fan through and through, he always admired how The Beatles changed letters around to make something iconic, and he knew that he wanted to do the same with Piencone, the ultimate play on words to represent “Pie” for pizza and “Cone” for ice cream.
As a family man with two young sons, Wilton hopes Piencone Pizzeria, Creamery & Pub will become a family-friendly restaurant and ultimate gathering place for the local Eagle Rock community, realizing the couple’s true vision of handcrafted pizza and homemade ice cream complemented by craft beer and a curated bar.