A crop of new pizza joints, from Pasadena to Oakland, prove that a perfect pie remains the ultimate takeout
Words by ANUSH J. BENLIYAN
From left: The Sausage Pie with fennel sausage, red onion, red bell peppers, tomato sauce, mozzarella and fori di latte. U STREET PIZZA’s Clam Pie with littleneck clams. Photos by Sydney Yorkshire.
U Street Pizza, Pasadena
Restaurateur Marie Petulla and executive chef Chris Keyser of Pasadena’s beloved Italian-Californian staple Union recently opened a sibling restaurant next door. U Street Pizza serves up nostalgic New York-style pizza, at the heart of which is a proprietary two-day fermented dough and California-grown tomatoes. More California love is found in the locally sourced seasonal toppings which include standouts like Petaluma mozzarella and Fresno peppers. Wash it all down with retro bottled pop from San Diego’s Swell Soda. 33 E Union St., Pasadena, 626-605-0340.
From left: The La Bianca pizza with fresh ricotta, calabrian chilies, sautéed spinach, caramelized onions and hand-pulled mozzarella. The exterior of BROOKLYN AVE. PIZZA CO. Photography by Jakob Layman.
Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co., Boyle Heights
Set on the ground floor of The Paramount, the longstanding venue in Los Angeles’ historic Boyle Heights neighborhood, local chef-owner Mario Christerna is paying homage to his Mexican and Chicano heritage at Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. The fast-casual eatery boasts such menu items as mole wood-fired pizza with queso Oaxaca, curtido and crema, and “The Sinner” with house bacon, sweet and spicy pineapple, mushroom and mozzarella. Don’t miss the loaded thick-cut “papas” fries with Chicano gravy and beef chorizo, or the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos wings (if you dare). 2706 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., L.A., 323-968-1106.
From left: A white pizza with ricotta, mozzarella and market roasted vegetables. The patio at REVOLVER.
Revolver, Santa Barbara
At Revolver in Santa Barbara, chef-owner Nick Bodden offers a limited menu of just four perfected 14-inch New York-style pizzas — classic pepperoni, margherita, white with homemade ricotta and the “rossa” with no-cheese — alongside two salads and a beverage program focused on beer and natural wine. Bodden honed his culinary talents at New York’s Bouchon and Santa Barbara’s Sama Sama Kitchen (among other lauded restaurants) before opening Revolver, which takes its name from The Beatles’ album. 1429 San Andres St., Santa Barbara, 805-679-5818.
From left: SQUARE PIE GUYS is known for their Detroit-style square pan pizzas. The new Oakland outpost.
Square Pie Guys, Oakland
In NorCal, San Francisco’s Square Pie Guys just opened a new outpost in Old Oakland this spring. There you’ll find its Instagram-famous Detroit-style square pan pizzas, including the special Oaklandish Pie with Italian sausage, smoky bacon, mushrooms, grilled onions, green goddess drizzle and a classic cheddar edge. (Five percent of Oaklandish Pie proceeds go to Asian Health Services’ Oakland Chinatown Victims Fund.) The new location also proffers pints of Double Rainbow Ice Cream, as well as debut to-go cocktails. 499 9th St., Oakland, 510-626-9960.
From left: The Funghi pizza. MENTONE in Aptos. Pizza photo by Alyssa Twelker. Mentone exterior photo by Kevin Painchaud.
In Santa Cruz County, Michelin-starred Manresa chef David Kinch is putting a California spin on Riviera-inspired wood-fire pizzas at Mentone. The 12-inch pies (made with a 48-hour fermented dough) incorporate ingredients like Taggiasca olive oil made by Wild Poppies in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and a custom Provencal-style saucisson/sausage blend produced by Corralitos Market & Sausage Company in Watsonville. Also on the menu: rotating pasta kits such as housemade tagliatelle with pesto; and, of course, Italian, French and California wines. 174 Aptos Village Way, Aptos, 831-708-4000.
Feature Image: U Street Pizza, photo by Sydney Yorkshire.
This story originally appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of C Magazine.
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