HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Pie in the Sky vs. Arinell

rlauriston Aug 27, 2005 05:24 PM

Just to make sure, I did a head-to-head comparison of pepperoni slices from Pie in the Sky and Arinell.

PitS was superior in every regard--crust, sauce, cheese, pepperoni. The Arinell slice was greasy and bland by comparison.

The PitS slice was reheated from a pepperoni pie, which maybe gave it a slight advantage over the Arinell slice, which started as a slice from a plain cheese pie.

Both slices were $2.75, but Arinell's price is going up 25 cents on Monday.

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. s
    Stoli RE: rlauriston Aug 27, 2005 05:39 PM

    I've been over to Berkeley enough to try both, and I agree totally. My first Arinell slice was my last. The crust tastes like cardboard, the cheese and sauce have no flavor, and putting the toppings on right before heating it doesn't work. I can see how it represents a style of pizza that makes transplanted East Coasters nostalgic, but it'll never win any taste tests.

    Pie in the Sky, on the other hand? Great all around.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Stoli
      Jeff RE: Stoli Aug 28, 2005 01:32 PM

      I'm glad so many other posters feel disappointed in the pie from Arinell's. They should be. Flavor is something they lost back in the 70's. In fact, I'm not sure they ever had any. This is THE MOST OVERRATED PIZZA IN THE BAY. How they even make the list is beyond my comprehension. Haven't tried Lanesplitter or Delfina yet. I'm amazed at how many places some of the posters have been to. There must be a lot of rich and fat chowhound's around!

      1. re: Jeff
        ChowFun (derek) RE: Jeff Aug 28, 2005 01:48 PM

        Are you referring to me???
        Just wait till you join our all day or all weekend Chowdowns!
        All Food...
        All the time...!!!

        1. re: Jeff
          Niki Rothman (a.k.a. Niki) RE: Jeff Aug 28, 2005 04:39 PM

          Meals a day = 3
          Meals a week = 21
          Meals a year = 1092

          1. re: Niki Rothman (a.k.a. Niki)
            Niki Rothman (a.ka. Niki) RE: Niki Rothman (a.k.a. Niki) Aug 28, 2005 05:00 PM

            Er...what I MEANT to say:

            Meals a day = 3
            Meals a week = 21
            Meals a year = 1092
            Every Meal = PRICELESS

          2. re: Jeff
            Robert Lauriston RE: Jeff Aug 28, 2005 06:48 PM

            I think Arinell is enough like certain New York street-food pizza places to sooth some ex-NYers' cravings.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              Jeff RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 4, 2005 12:03 AM

              No self respecting New Yorker who digs pizza would finish an Arinell slice. One bite is all you need to know that this pizza is not worth going back for. I don't mean to be down on them, but, their pizza is so bad, I can't help it.

              BTW, like others have said, N.Y. style is a bit oilier than others. When Gioia's is perfect, that slice will not wilt, even with the extra oil on it, and, it blends perfectly with the rest of the ingredients.

              1. re: Jeff
                sparmonic RE: Jeff Jan 23, 2009 04:06 PM

                I just got here from Brooklyn 2 weeks ago, and honestly, Arinell's is the closest thing to NY pizza I've found. Someone recommended Village Pizzeria to me, and I tried it. It was garbage. I've heard really good things about Gioia's (obviously, it's owned by an ex-Brooklynite!) but good lord is Berkeley quite the trip to make for someone who just moved to the Inner Richmond. Any decent places for NY style pizza (better than Arinell?) actually located in SF? I'm starving over here, and all ears!

                1. re: sparmonic
                  wolfe RE: sparmonic Jan 23, 2009 04:22 PM

                  This subject has been covered many times and the consensus seems to be that your search will be fruitless. There will be no New York pizza found in the Bay Area that will satisfy you. Relax, settle back with a nice Mission burrito. Go native.
                  Oh no, I am starting to perseverate.

                  1. re: sparmonic
                    P. Punko RE: sparmonic Jan 23, 2009 07:07 PM

                    Agreed with Wolfe. Also, you are hosed on the East Coast Egg Roll. I understand the desire for a perfect-crusted, tasty-sauced, cooked just so pizza pie. Gotta try to search the board first. Surprising as it is, others have trod the well worn path before yourself.

                    Try for Thai food in the Tenderloin, and Vietnamese sandwiches.

                    1. re: sparmonic
                      a_and_w RE: sparmonic Apr 16, 2009 08:26 AM

                      Aside from the places already mentioned, check out Amici's, Tomasso's, and Golden Boy.

            2. s
              sic fan RE: rlauriston Aug 27, 2005 06:30 PM

              I agree with you--Pie in the Sky makes Arinell taste very bland. I like the mix of textures at PitS too--a light crunch and chew of the crust against the meaty softness fo the cheese and sauce (especially noticeable on the cheese slice).

              even though both places reheat their slices, the cheese atop Pie in the Sky's pizza comes out melted where as Arinell's is often crusted.

              Speaking of crust, I don't really notice the addition of whole wheat flour unless I really look at the crust. It really looks nice.

              Those in the minimalist pizza camp may take issue with the large amount of sauce, cheese and toppings (I think they use pork pepperoni instead of beef) at PitS, but that just happens to be how I like it--it's pizza as junk food! It's comforting!

              1. n
                Niki RE: rlauriston Aug 27, 2005 08:32 PM

                I tried Arinell, took a bite and my brain said, "Ak Mak cracker." The sauce and cheese do what they should but the crust made me throw it away on the third bite.

                1. u
                  uh ... art RE: rlauriston Aug 28, 2005 02:46 AM

                  You forgot one regard: size. Arinell's is about 50% bigger than PitS.
                  Plus the cheese slice is $0.25 cheaper. I don't get PitS. It's an espresso
                  bar! It's an ice cream parlor! It's a pizza shoppe! Seemed almost
                  as schizo as Spuds.

                  OK, sure, it was a tasty couple of slices I had when I dropped in at
                  about 9pm one day last week. And the folks running the place seemed
                  nice enough. And I'm sure they'll do well. But what's with all the
                  Arinell haters all of a sudden?

                  Lanesplitters, on the other hand, beats both on all counts. Plus beer.

                  This pizza fad thing is starting to annoy me.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: uh ... art
                    ChowFun (derek) RE: uh ... art Aug 28, 2005 10:58 AM

                    Sorry you're starting to get annoyed...we take pizza seriously..we are after all "Chowhounds".
                    My experience....LaneSplitter..less than ordinary..I had a fresh pie eaten in house...Arinell's...pie from S.F. marginally better than LaneSplitters...haven't tried Pie in the Sky or Goia ...YET!
                    In S.F. in order of preference...Little Star (for Chicago style) A16 (Neopolitan) Pizetta 211, Delfinas (only been to the last two once..so for me still in the testing stage!)

                    1. re: ChowFun (derek)
                      Trumpet Guy RE: ChowFun (derek) Aug 28, 2005 11:32 AM

                      I'm a Boston chowhound...Yeah I tried Arinell's in SF on a visit last week. It was not good at all--SO average.

                      I did really enjoy Pizzeria Delfina's margherita pizza very much though! :)

                      1. re: ChowFun (derek)
                        uh ... art RE: ChowFun (derek) Aug 29, 2005 01:46 AM

                        >>> Sorry you're starting to get annoyed...we take pizza seriously.

                        Feh. Serious pizza eaters pack up and move back home to some land where
                        old greek men man the ovens. Being a pizza wussie out here is like being
                        a sushi wussie in Rugby, North Dakota: at best it's a horrid pastiche,
                        and at worst ...

                        I'm really amused by this new Pizzaiolo place where you spend two
                        houriolos standing on the streetiolo waiting for a tableiolo. Woot!
                        And then you get a $20 anchovy hot pie.

                        Do they serve the equally wacky iceburg lettuce wedge "salad" fad
                        at Pizzaiolo? The reason I ask is 'cause I'm working on this theory
                        about how earth is being taken over by spacecreatures who are pointy
                        on one end and round on the other and they attack us through our
                        stomachs. It's all beginning to make sense now.

                        1. re: uh ... art
                          Robert Lauriston RE: uh ... art Aug 29, 2005 01:45 PM

                          No retro stuff at Pizzaiolo. They do a salad of whole Little Gems.

                          1. re: uh ... art
                            Morton the Mousse RE: uh ... art Aug 29, 2005 02:36 PM

                            Here in the Bay Area, some of us care about quality ingredients. Some of us also care about sustainability, honoring our farmers and artisin food producers, and paying them a living wage. Premium ingredients are expensive, but they feel better, are better for the Earth, and (most importantly) they taste better. I am happy to spend $14 for a pizza at Pizzaiolo because when I consider the quality I know that it is a good value and a fair price. I know that they could only lower their prices by compromising the quality of their ingredients. Spend a week shopping at farmer's markets, high end butchers and upscale cheese shops and you'll see just how expensive it is to produce quality food. If you'd rather eat cheap pizza that's your right, but nobody is ripping us off. We are informed consumers who are happy to pay top dollar for a high quality, ethically made product.

                            On a side note, by making fun of the name Pizzaiolo you're really just making fun of the Italian language.

                            1. re: uh ... art
                              heidipie RE: uh ... art Aug 29, 2005 05:06 PM

                              I find this thread bewildering. What exactly is a pizza wussie? Somebody too squeamish to eat lousy pizza? If that's what you're saying, then yo soy. There's enough good food out here that I found no reason to consider pizza even to be a dining option from 1986-2003 when I lived in San Francisco. One ate pizza in New York (where the Italians run the ovens, my friend--go back to Boston for Greek pizza), brought a big bag of Goldenberg's Peanut Chews back to SF to last until the next visit, and that was that.

                              Now Berkeley has presented me with an amazing wealth--three pretty reasonable slice joints within 15 minutes of home. Only now do I look back and let myself know the privation I suffered on the foggy side of the Bay. Being what you call a "pizza wussie" takes strength and courage, in the face of the social pressure from housemates or spouses to "just order a pie from Mr. Pizza Man and quit fussing, we're hungry!"

                          2. re: uh ... art
                            Robert Lauriston RE: uh ... art Aug 28, 2005 12:10 PM

                            I think my Arinell slice was about the same size except for the thicker and wider bare crust.

                            Lanesplitter's one of the best for that general style of pizza, I agree. But it's not a block from Arinell.

                          3. h
                            heidipie RE: rlauriston Aug 29, 2005 12:34 AM

                            I've had Pie in the Sky three times now. The crust is good and the cheese higher-quality than Arinell. But their sauce is bumming me out. It's too salty and there's too much of it. Their whole pie looks like spin-art, with a spiral of cheese and a spiral of cheese-less sauce puddle. I ordered my latest pie "light on the sauce," and still got a pinwheel only with the sauce less puddly. Arinell won't make me take lots of cheeseless bites per slice, and they won't make me wipe extra sauce off my slice with my finger. Arinell's sauce also retains that sweet unfussed-with tomato flavor. But the Pie in the Sky folks are sweet, so I intend to continue to work with them until they can make me happy.

                            12 Replies
                            1. re: heidipie
                              Robert Lauriston RE: heidipie Aug 29, 2005 01:43 PM

                              You can wipe the grease off the Arinell with your finger, though a paper towel would work better. I think that's one of the things that some ex-NYers find authentic.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                ChowFun (derek) RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 29, 2005 03:21 PM

                                I guess I'll have to try the Arinell's in Berkeley...since your description hasn't applied the 3 times I've tried Arinell's here in the city...
                                Yes, New York Pizza usually gets a good coating of olive oil before it goes in the oven..I think it helps the cheese melt better...I know it sometimes makes the initial bite taste like magma it is so hot! But it does lend itself to the "juicy" characteristic of a real New York pie!

                                1. re: ChowFun (derek)
                                  Robert Lauriston RE: ChowFun (derek) Aug 29, 2005 03:32 PM

                                  I didn't remember Arinell being that greasy, either. Not sure if it was the contrast with Pie in the Sky or what.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    heidipie RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 29, 2005 04:31 PM

                                    I don't mind grease, it was excess sauce I was complaining about.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                      Shep RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 29, 2005 06:19 PM

                                      I found Gioia to be a little more oily than Arinell, pretty much consistently. Only did PitS once, and at one slice a week it's going to take me a while to rotate back around to them. But I gotta tell you, none of these three places is bad. Just love the one you're with.

                                      1. re: Shep
                                        Robert Lauriston RE: Shep Aug 29, 2005 09:07 PM

                                        I relish whatever pizza I'm eating unless it's downright awful. But I won't be eating at the Berkeley branch of Arinell again unless I'm in that neighborhood and craving when Pie in the Sky is closed.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          Shep RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 30, 2005 12:40 PM

                                          The old chowhounds' "Hot and Greasy" factor excuses a multitude of faults.

                                2. re: heidipie
                                  kimchee411 RE: heidipie Apr 15, 2009 12:55 PM

                                  THANK YOU! I just don't understand all of the rave reviews for PITS and total bashing of Arinell (although you people do love to hate on popular joints). I know this a really old thread, but I need to register my $.02...

                                  I haven't had a decent pizza in a while until I went to Little Star for the first time on Sunday night. Great pizza (both NY style thin and Chicago deep dish), though cornmeal pizza crust is objectionable to me. That got me craving good NY style thin crust pizza sans the cornmeal. I read so many good things about PITS I decided to give it a go.

                                  The crust was divine -- cripsy yet pliable, not doughy (obviously, being thin crust) but not cracker-crunchy. However the sauce and the cheese were huge disappointments.

                                  The sauce was just... anemic. It had a nice thick texture and rich red color but it really lacked flavor and had an essence of canned Spaghetti-Os. Really flat. The sauce at Little Star is infinitely better -- sweeter, tangier, fresher... "full of life". The cheese is your run-of-the-mill, salty, overly processed, average pizza mozzarella.

                                  Overall the flavors reminded me of the stuff you get in elementary school cafeteria.

                                  I'll still go back as it's a great value ($15.75 for a 16" 2-topping pie), the people are really nice folks, and the crust is GREAT. I'm just disappointed by all the hype.

                                  I was a big fan of Arinell but haven't had it in quite a while. I'm going to pick one up tonight and compare to both PITS and Little Star.

                                  1. re: kimchee411
                                    Robert Lauriston RE: kimchee411 Apr 15, 2009 12:58 PM

                                    I didn't find Little Star's thin-crust pizza New Yorkish at all, but maybe they've gotten more so.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                      kimchee411 RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 15, 2009 01:44 PM

                                      Why not? Thin, crisp crust, relatively light sauce, cheese, and toppings... it's just that cornmeal dusting that makes it different. What was it like when you had it?

                                      1. re: kimchee411
                                        Robert Lauriston RE: kimchee411 Apr 16, 2009 10:01 AM

                                        Classic New York crust is very thin and balances crunchiness and chewiness. Zachary's thin crust is all crunch, and is significantly thicker. The only place I've encountered a similar crust is Cheese Board.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          kimchee411 RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 16, 2009 03:25 PM

                                          That balance between crispiness and chewiness is how I remember Little Star. PITS most definitely fits that description. Rotten City pizza, which I had last night, was too soft, though thin.

                                3. p
                                  PekoePeony RE: rlauriston Aug 31, 2005 08:50 PM

                                  My bf and I tried Arinell's (SF) for the first time this past weekend. What a disappointment. We really did not like that they added the toppings on afterwards -- the pepperoni came back undercooked. The slices were quite greasy (it was running down my hands), but I don't mind that. The crust looked good with the bit of char but the crusty/chewy mouth feel wasn't right, and it was missing the smokiness that I associate with good New York pizza. We wouldn't go back.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: PekoePeony
                                    !!! RE: PekoePeony Sep 1, 2005 02:24 AM

                                    good god, were you expecting lombardi's? i'm thinking of an ordinary neighborhood slice joint.

                                  2. j
                                    Jeff RE: rlauriston Sep 3, 2005 11:55 PM

                                    Robert, you are finally seeing the light on Arinell. A truly meaningless pizza that is devoid of any flavor. The ONLY N.Y. style pizza worth ingesting in the Bay Area is Gioia's. Nothing comes remotely close. But, sometimes, not often, there can be variations in their standard. The worst a 7/10. Most of the time 9 or 10, IMO.

                                    By the way, tried Dopo's the other night. I was disappointed in their margharita. The sauce lacked a tanginess and the cheese, while tasty, was too thick. Excellent crust, though. Their Lasagna was great!

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Jeff
                                      Melanie Wong RE: Jeff Sep 4, 2005 12:17 AM

                                      Have you tried Speederia in San Carlos or NY Pie in Santa Rosa?

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                                        ChowFun (derek) RE: Melanie Wong Sep 5, 2005 06:29 PM

                                        I have...Speederia did nothing for me, and as you know, New York pizza in Santa Rosa...was great when we went.

                                        1. re: ChowFun (derek)
                                          Melanie Wong RE: ChowFun (derek) Sep 5, 2005 07:53 PM

                                          Thanks, but the reason for my question was to find out if the poster had tried NY Pie in Santa Rosa before proclaiming Gioia tops. I don't have a hound in the hunt, it's just that I haven't seen anyone compare the two.

                                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                                            ChowFun (derek) RE: Melanie Wong Sep 6, 2005 11:09 AM

                                            Ah..yes, that would be an interesting comparison....I hope someone has been to both...
                                            Speederia..just didn''t work for me...I ordered a whole pie...and it was OK, just not good enough....

                                        2. re: Melanie Wong
                                          Jeff RE: Melanie Wong Sep 8, 2005 01:24 AM


                                          Haven't tried either. I'm beginning to think I don't get around much! I did try Dopo's last week and was disappointed after reading some favorable reports on their pizza. But, their Lasagna was fantastic. I like that little place.

                                          1. re: Jeff
                                            Melanie Wong RE: Jeff Sep 8, 2005 02:23 AM

                                            Focus, man, focus! (g) I've only been to Dopo once for lunch. Thought the crust was kinda dried out. Nice flavors though. Been wanting to make it back for dinner.

                                      Show Hidden Posts