Berkeley Pizza Slices: Yay
Spent the afternoon eating our way through various NY-type pizza slice places. All very good and highly recommended. I guess you could pick nits about this or that being better or worse for various reasons, but I thought they were all very good and there was little to choose between them. Problem: variable hours. Cheese Board not open on Sundays and tends to have short-ish hours, Pie in the sky not open weekends, so keep an open mind if you go to one and it is not open; just pick another one.
All, except Cheese Board (which is several blocks up on Shattuck) within a block or two of BART.
Bobby G's Pizzeria
2074 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704
The Cheese Board Collective
1504 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709
Pie In The Sky
2124 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704
2109 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704
If he had gone to Gioia, he could have skipped the rest. Sunday before the Patriots game, I discovered the sweet, hot chopped peppers you can add to your pizza for no additonal cost. Gilding the lily on the Julien, but could work on the spinach or the butternut squash/gorgonzola.
I had Cheeseboard on Friday for lunch, but it is no match to Gioia. I don't notice the taste of the crust since the toppings are so flavorful.
Gioia is what I dream John's Pizza in NYC must be like.
You know I went to ROTTEN CITY not long after they opened and filed them away as "good but not wow" -- which explains the lack of return visits (also the location isnt convenient for me).
However, I had two slices there last week and now I'd say they are the best slices along with TONY SLICE.
Yes, better than SLICE OF NY, SPEEDERIA, GIOIA, LANESPLITTER, PI BAR.
I do not include CHEESEBOARD, as that's a totally different beast. And not comparing to white table cloth, whole pie only places etc.
This is funny because we went to Berkeley for the day on Friday to eat... starting with pizza lunches at both Pie in the Sky and Cheeseboard.
Pie in the Sky is our thin crust Bay Area favorite. Love their cheese pizza (sometimes though it has a little too much cheese), and the have a great sauce. In the summers they close on weekends; the rest of the year they're only closed Sunday.
Gioia has had positive recommendations on this board, too. I've only been there once but remember it being quite good.
1586 Hopkins St, Berkeley, CA 94707
re: Robert Lauriston
My CH associate was ill and couldnt make it to ROTTEN CITY so after some failed attempts to google "silver pizza" I made it into to SLIVER PIZZA a minute or two after they closed [9ish] ... they recognized me from CHEESEBOARD and gave me a couple of (free) slices and then chatted with me bit about the business. [nota bene, David Farris, I do have sufficient CB mojo to get in after hours :-)]
In the pizza dept, they do seem to be rather closely and unabashedly cloning CB. The pizza of the day was the CB potato slice ... they even kinda said ... "you know, the one you love at CB". But since they were out of that, they gave me a clone of one of the CB tomato pizzas ... although maybe they used cherry tomatoes or some other small round one, instead of the roma or whatever CB uses. The crust was slightly diff, but I think that reflected the oven technology rather than a deliberate and conscious departure ... they apparently inherited a wood burning oven from the previous place, although I dont think they are cooking all the pizzas in there.
"Are you going to do meat pizza?"
"No, veg only"
"Are you going to have other food?"
"We have salads" ... so also following CB there.
The slices are also identically priced at $2.50, although I dont know if that includes the "bonus slice".
The big departure is they not only have beer but hard alcohol. In fact, they are even doing "fancy" cocktails like a SAZERAC! ... which is an interesting place to depart from the CB model.
The one "elephant in the room" topic we didnt get to is "what does the mothership think of this" ... is this going to be friendly like the USSR-CUBA or a "SINO-SOVIET SPLIT?, with SHATTUCK AVE playing the part of the USSURI RIVER? ... we'll know if CB starts referring to SLIVER as "Margarine Pizzaiolos" I suppose.
I believe they have a bar happy hr from 4-6.
For people interested in INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATION, this may be an interesting case of HOTELLING'S LAW and the LINEAR CITY MODEL. (Chowhound Urmi is planning to a case study).
ObWikipedia for some introductory discussion:
p.s. Isnt BOBBY G PIZZA pedestrian in the extreme? Or, as with ROTTEN CITY, do I need to go back now that they have "matured"?
re: Robert Lauriston
I stopped by here for lunch last week and was amazed as to how closely it was a Cheeseboard clone, right down to the overly loud and unwanted (by me) "live jazz".
The line was to the door, but it only took a couple of minutes for me to order and get my slice (Cheeseboard-style with extra bonus sliver) and salad (Cheeseboard-style, which I had forgotten about until I started eating it, with whole slices of lettuce, much larger than bite-size).
All in all, it was a good Cheeseboard facsimile and very conveniently located to me, so I'll be back. I'm intrigued by the bar options, too.
The alcohol diversification is probably because they have an alcohol license to go with the location. You never give one of those up!!
The other way in which they differ from the mother ship is that they are open later though only a little bit, right? That would be a good way to distinguish themselves, imagine cheeseboard pizza and drinks until 11 or even midnight! A chowhound can hope, right?
i asked how late they were open and they mentioned that they can pour booze until midnight ... i think there is a TBD factor to their schedule until students get back and they have a better model for demand.
i asked if they deliberately opened before UCB started or if that just kinda happened. that also got kind of a random answer.
again, i was mostly obsessing over whether this was friendly or hostile competition with CB. i have had the vague feeling for some time the new crop of expanded CB employees are more flakey than they used to be. it used to be super efficient and seems less so now ... like "the line is out bast cheeseboard/cheese ... if you arent going to run your second register now, what are you waiting for?" [i understand that is pointless if the bottleneck is pie production, but again, something seems off when you do the "longitudinal" analysis].
oh, also they -- like cheeseboard -- want to have music everynight. i got the impression anyway they were going to have some of the same bands. i.e. they arent going to be doing 80s cover bands or any kind of extreme pandering to say younger students. also, that may suggest this is a friendly situation.
the real product differentiation i am looking for is showing European Football matches. BTW, are you still obsessed with ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC?
I got a pepperoni slice from the Lanesplitter takeout place in Albany. $3.25 for a quarter of a pie, is that their usual serving? Way bigger than at the sit-down places. On the other hand, the pizza, though cooked so it was pretty dark on the bottom, was not crisp.