Pizza Pizza

How Many Neapolitan Joints Will Soon Be Battling for Your Pizza Dollar?

Photo: Hannah Whitaker/NY Mag

Neapolitan pizza has been front and center in the New York food scene for a while (see Grub Street NY’s definitive guide from last summer), but this summer is certain to be The Summer of Pizza here in San Francisco. By our count, there are seven (!) unrelated pizzerias opening here in the next few months, and at least five of those will be focusing on Neapolitan-style pies — smaller, softer, wood-fired pies, perfectly blistered and minimally topped as they are in Naples, which is thought to be the birthplace of pizza. See our complete guide to the pizzas that will be, and the established names they’ll be up against, below.

Una Pizza Napoletana
Chef: Anthony Mangieri
After Grub Street reported that Mangieri was headed to the 11th Street corridor of SOMA, there were many cheers and a lot of buzz. Mangieri now tells us that despite his oven being already in the space waiting for him, the architects and the landlord are saying that we’re probably looking at a July opening now. Mangieri, of course, brings a lot of NYC cred with him, having made a name for himself among a crowded field and getting named second-best pizza overall by NY Mag and 3rd by the Times.

Zero Zero
Chef: Bruce Hill
A new venture from Hill and his partners at Larkspur’s Pizzeria Picco, Zero Zero will be moving into the former Azie space at 826 Folsom come July. Zero Zero takes its name from the type of the flour dictated for pizza dough (“00”) by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, where Hill got certified as a master pizzaiolo in 2005. The new restaurant will also feature house-made salumis, artisan pastas, and two full bars with hand -rafted cocktails and various sized carafes of local, high quality wine on tap. [Grub Street]

Unnamed Jon Darsky Pizzeria
Coming up against Mangieri also will be former Flour + Water pizzaiolo Jon Darsky’s project, which will be strictly a pizza-and-sandwich place, at least to start, with everything done in a wood oven. He may be leaning toward Hayes Valley, but he tells Grub Street that he’s still yet to zero in on a neighborhood, and no deal has been signed. Expect this place by late summer, give or take.

Antica Pizza Napoletana
Chef: TBA
Farina’s expansion down the street, to the ground floor of a still-under-construction condo building at 18th and Valencia, is slated for mid-summer as well. They say they’re importing a pizzaiolo straight from Naples, but they’re not naming any names. Our only question is how they’ll get away with a wood oven when they’ve got residential units right above them, but we hear there’s some sort of expensive scrubber thing one can get that filters the smoke.

Arizmendi Pizza
Chef: It’s a collective
Though not Neapolitan per se, East Bay-based, cooperative Arizmendi (offspring of Cheeseboard pizza and named for a Basque labor organizer) will be opening up an SF pizzeria/bakery next door to Heart in that newly renovated building at Valencia and 24th, and we’re pretty sure they use

Unnamed 24th Street Pizzeria
Right around the corner from Arizmendi will also be another joint, which has had some gas ovens installed. But beyond that, all we know is what an Eater tipster told us last month: the place is across from La Bohème and already had some signage up. UPDATE via Mission Mission: It still doesn’t seem to have a name, but the pizzaiolo is named Andy and he will in fact be doing the Neapolitan thing.

Lark Creek Pizza (name still TBD)
Chef: Adrian Hoffman (culinary director of the Lark Creek Group)
The folks behind Lark Creek Steak scooped up the vacant Zazil space next door to them at the Westfield for a Neapolitan pizzeria. There may be another chef announced (the place won’t open until late Fall 2010), but Hoffman recently took part in an intensive workshop in Italy, and he’ll be overseeing the pizza-making.

UPDATE: To these we must add Ragazza, the new pizzeria from Gialiana’s Sharon Ardiana who’ll finally be bringing her not-quite-Neapolitan, gas-oven-baked pizza wizardry to the masses at 311 Divisidero (we’ve always had trouble making it out to Glen Park). Ragazza is due to open by fall.

These newcomers will still have to contend with the old guard of pizzerias that have opened up in the last few years (or in one case, in 1935) and which already have their fan base, despite not all being Neapolitan-proper: Flour + Water (which Travel + Leisure named as one of the nation’s eleven best), Pizzeria Delfina, Bauer fave Gialina, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana (which recently got recognized by Food & Wine), Starbelly (which we prefer to Beretta or Delarosa), Tommaso’s (the oldest of the bunch, which has used an oak-burning oven for 75 years), and Gaspare’s in the Richmond.

Say what you will about the other styles of pie offered by places like Little Star, Paxti’s, Escape from New York, and Marcello’s, and every other favorite neighborhood slice-slinger; San Franciscans should never complain that they can’t get a decent pizza ever again.

Earlier: Best Pizza in America: The Visual Breakdown [Grub Street NY]

How Many Neapolitan Joints Will Soon Be Battling for Your Pizza Dollar?