The Year in Food: Pizza Pizza Pizza Pizza

Categories: Trend Watch
Patxis_Pizza_Pies.jpg
Patxi's/Yelp
The Noe Valley Patxi's Pizza was just one of many sequels.

Twelve months, ten storylines: It's SFoodie's annual look back at the year in food.

You and SFoodie and everyone we know all knows the story of how 2010 turned out to be the year of Peak Pizza.

It started slowly enough. Around the beginning of the year, Boot + Shoe Service decided pizza went well with cocktails, while Delarosa and Pi Bar paired pizza with beer ― really, really, good beer. We like cocktails. We like beer. We like pizza. We were on board.

bruce-hill.jpg
John Birdsall
Zero Zero's Bruce Hill.
Then, it seemed a host of restaurateurs ― some already in the pizza business, some not ― decided they should start flipping condos for extra cash that they should open a second, third, or fourth place: In addition to Boot + Shoe Service (from the Pizzaiolo owners) and Delarosa (Beretta and Starbelly owners), Gialina begat Ragazza, Pizzeria Picco (and restaurant titan Bruce Hill) begat Zero Zero, the Lalime's crew begat Paisan (2514 San Pablo, Berkeley, no website), Patxi's begat a Noe Valley location, Sweet Adeline and half of the Flora/Doña Tomás team begat Addie's Pizza Pie, and Tony's Pizza Napoletana opened Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza and Slice House next door, which basically doubled the number of ovens Tony Gemignani had on hand to play with. The Farina owners announced they were launching a pizza place, too, but then that project kept getting pushed back, and is now slated for spring 2011.

There were a couple of outliers, too: Anthony Mangieri moved his cult Una Pizza Napoletana from Manhattan to SOMA this year. And for five months, Locanda da Eva served pizzas as well as other Cal-Ital food, but the restaurant closed abruptly after alpha-critic Michael Bauer announced he wasn't going to review the place.
Do we want to extract lessons from the second coming of fancy pizza? They're not very deep ones, we fear. 1. People love pizza. 2. Restaurateurs love pizza's high profit margins. 3. People consider artisanal pizza more affordable than bistro meals. 4. Restaurateurs consider money a good thing to make.

We were rather fascinated that pizza is no longer a meal in itself ― places like Zero Zero, Delarosa, and Ragazza are making pizza the center of a more complete, varied, and expensive dinner. Sometimes that worked for SFoodie, sometimes we thought the pizza suffered as a result.

Overall, we're glad to see the general level of quality continue to improve, and think that Bruce Hill was correct when he told SFoodie this summer that "every neighborhood could support an artisanal pizzeria." We'll soon see if Hill's prediction is correct ― we're close to reaching that point. Will 2011 see more Zero Zeros in the Sunset, Excelsior, and Oceanview?

As for us, we're done reviewing the trend. Next year we declare the pages of the SF Weekly a pizza-free zone. Though we are curious, we confess, about Crave City's new line of Egyptian pizzas ... nah.

Other 2010 trends:
- Filipino Finds Its Voice
- Local Media Explodes
- Big-Ticket Dining Surges
- Vegan Goes Mainstream
- Cocktails Get More Respect
- DIY Revolution
- Coffee Seeps Farther
- Street Food Gets Serious
Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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