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Little Star Pizza open on Solano

Little Star Pizza is open on Solano. I think the sign said noon to 10pm Tuesday through Sunday.

One of the owners used to run Little Chicago, a delivery-only place that was in Berkeley before he opened Little Star in SF. Albatross used to sell slices of his pizza.

Little Star makes deep-dish pizza a la Uno's, a cornmeal crust topped first with cheese, then with whatever toppings, with sauce on top. Zachary's makes stuffed pizza a la la Nancy's or Giordano's, which adds another layer of dough on top of the filling, with more tomato sauce on top of that.

Little Star Pizza
1175 Solano Ave, Albany, CA

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  1. First time Little Star. Small cheese and sausage. Crust very tasty. I enjoyed each of the three meals that I had it and it rewarmed beautifully. I certainly liked it better than the "deep dish/stuffed" up the block. Very different for me and not sure what to make of it as "pizza" more like a quiche with tomato sauce.

    1. Has anyone tried the thin crust pizza? I'd like to know how it compares to Lanesplitter's.

      16 Replies
      1. re: Glencora

        i had the thin crust about 3 weeks ago - the white pizza, tho ours didn't have zucchini, like the online menu says, just tomatoes. we took it home, about a 6 minute drive. it was ok. My first time trying Little Star, even tho I live near the one in the mission (tried the Albany one). It was good, flavorful enough..... maybe i just don't like pizzas with cornmeal dusted on the dough. maybe i should have eaten it there. And then about a week ago we had Lanesplitter's and that was the first time I'd had that pizza in about 10 years! I wasn't that impressed by Lanesplitter's either. I've been spoiled by Pizzaiolo and Gialina's. But i know it's not the same - those aren't your typical "take-out" pizzas. I live right next door to Serrano's Pizza, and I don't much like that either. You have to doctor it up a lot.

        2842 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131

        5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        1. re: mariacarmen

          I think of Lanesplitter as good fast food, though the price has gone up recently. Haven't been to Pizzaiolo, but I have been to Boot and Shoe and that was in a different category. I'm just looking for not-too-pricey take out. I'll try Little Star once, but I suspect it's not for me.

          1. re: Glencora

            Totally get what you mean. I've been looking for that good, go-to pizza you order just for take out, not for sit-down dinner, not "artisanal" pizza (ala Boot & Shoe/Pizzaiolo/Delfina/Flour & Water etc.), but I haven't really found it yet. I have to say i used to really love Mr. Pizza Man, but haven't had any in about 3 years....

            Mr. Pizza Man
            500 12th St Ste 131, Oakland, CA 94607

            1. re: mariacarmen

              I order from Lanesplitter (a large, "well-done" pie) in precisely the situations you're talking about, and I've generally been satisfied. I do the takeout option from the Lakeshore location, and with the $5 discount for picking it up, I find the price fairly reasonable.

              Rotten City Pizza (in Emeryville) is tops in this category, but I think it's pricier than Lanesplitter and is really best eaten in the store (though the pies do pretty well when you reheat them in the oven too).

              Lakeshore Cafe
              3257 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

              Rotten City Pizza
              6613 Hollis St, Emeryville, CA 94608

              1. re: abstractpoet

                i thought the price was fine - the pizzas were HUGE - and they tasted fine, but not great. i liked them better than anyone else in my family. we had a pepperoni pizza and a mushroom/cheese. i haven't tried Rotten City. anyone tried LaVal's, in El Cerrito, on San Pablo?

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  Emilia's and Gioia are both great for to-go orders, though maybe they are more the 'artisanal' type. I think LaVal's = Round Table.


                  1. re: foodeye

                    Tried Gioia tonight. TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS FOR "SPECIAL" PIZZA. and "special" means anything other than plain cheese! Plain cheese pizza is TWENTY-ONE DOLLARS! that's more than Tony's Pizza Napoletana (the one whose pizzaiolo won the World Pizza competition nine times, and which I LOVED) and (the admittedly overhyped) Una Pizza Napoletana!! We had the pomodoro and the pepperoni. I liked them both, quite a lot, tho the crust was neither crisp enough, nor droopy enough, for me. the tomatoes on the pomodoro were unbelievably sweet, delicious, and the sauce on the pepperoni was good and flavorful. Way better than Little Star. But this is not going to be the go-to take-out pizza place.

                    Tony's Pizza Napoletana
                    1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                    Una Pizza Napoletana
                    200 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      One of Gioia's 18-19" New York-style thin-crust pizzas is considerably more food than a Neapolitan pie from Tony's or UPN.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Yes, you're right - it fed 5 of us and there were leftovers today. i get your point.

                      2. re: mariacarmen

                        $22 for Tony's margherita, delicious but about12" and I finished it between the Vallejo garage and the Bay Bridge in light traffic and I was not texting at the time.

                    2. re: mariacarmen

                      Got a pizza delivered from LaVal's in Albany for the first time in quite a while recently and thought it was quite good - fresh, very thin crust with no big edges. Large combination (linguica, zucchini, extra sauce, etc., etc.) for $20.

                      1. re: mariacarmen

                        haven't been to laval's for a couple years but generally this is the only place i would get pizza in albany. best kept secret.

              2. re: Glencora

                Had the thin crust Italian combo. Very good. Thicker crust than my usual Lanesplitter but not as thick as Zachary's. Since you are probably aware of my penurious nature my usual Lanesplitter is the $13 19" cheese so this $25 16" was a stretch for me. Would I do it again? If it is the wish of "she who must be obeyed."

                1. re: wolfe

                  Good to know. Doesn't sound like a must-have. (btw, tried Fat Daddy's ribs last Sunday. THAT was worth the extra $.)

                  1. re: Glencora

                    (I agree, and since Wolfe didn't comment on price when he posted about the ribs, he must concur.)

              3. We went about a week and a half ago and they were already doing brisk business. We had the "classic" deep dish, with sausage, peppers, etc. I thought it was about a million times better than Zachary's. Literally one million times. Like, every single component was noticeably better: the cheese, the sauce, the toppings, and--most especially--the crust.

                I can't imagine ever willingly choosing to go to Zachary's ever again.

                1. I've been twice, once for lunch and one for dinner. I ordered the deep dish with spinach, mushrooms and pesto in an attempt to compare it to what I usually choose at Zachary's. Little Star's pizza was an entirely different bird. The pizza was very fresh and clean tasting with a lovely crunch from the cornmeal. I still love Zack's due to the almost buttery richness of the crust but will hit Little Star for a more "grown-up" meal. I tried the thin crust on my second visit - with olives (green and black) and mushrooms. It was delicious. Not too heavy for lunch time. Good salads and an interesting chocolate gelato/cabernet sorbet combo dessert. The wait staff is fun and keeps things moving. Sit in a booth if you can get one.

                  8 Replies
                    1. re: ernie in berkeley

                      From their web site but remember it takes 30 minutes for the deep dish.
                      Our Albany location opens at 12PM Tuesday through Sunday

                      1. re: wolfe

                        with respect to the 30 minutes - I suspect they will let you call in before hand to minimize one's wait time ?

                        1. re: gordon wing

                          I suspect they do but when do they start cooking prior to opening?

                        2. re: wolfe

                          Thanks for the tip. The pie I had for lunch just now was excellent, with a cracker-thin cornmeal crust. I was expecting a Zachary's-style slab. The sauce was light and fresh-tasting and there was good cheese with a sprinkling of fresh parmesian. Sausage was so-so, a little underseasoned. A deep-dish pizza at another table looked exactly how I remember Little Chicago's.

                          Next week they will start offering slices, at least at lunchtime,
                          which is good because a whole pie was kind of pricey at $16
                          including the sausage and some good tomato slices, and it was a little too big for lunch for one.

                          1. re: ernie in berkeley

                            they were offering pepperoni and cheese thin crust slices today at the solano stroll festival for $3.

                          2. re: wolfe

                            We got there around 1:00 today and put our deep dish pizza order in right at the door, even though there wasn't a wait or anything. That worked out well--just a couple minutes after we'd finished our salad, the pizza came out.

                            Regarding the comment about them offering individual slices, will they have slices for the deep dish as well? That would be nice. I'd say that the small deep dish might be a bit too hearty a lunch even for two people, especially if you get a salad too.

                            1. re: abstractpoet

                              "small deep dish might be a bit too hearty a lunch even for two people"
                              Bet on it unless Sonya Thomas and Joey Chestnut are the 2, I had 3 meals as noted above.

                      2. It was okay. It was less greasy than Zachary's. Also, the chicken was less fatty and the vegetables were less soggy. However, I'm not crazy about their corn crust. I think you either love it or you don't. I'd go back, but it's not my favorite.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rightstar

                          The cornmeal crust dates back to the original Uno's recipe.

                        2. Went for the first time today for lunch; one of only three parties plus a scattering of solo diners at 12:30, we were seated right away.

                          Ordered the large classic (deep-dish w/ sausage, mushrooms, bell pepper & onions) and attempted to each order a small salad when our very helpful, attentive server (the only person working out front) pointed out that their small salads are suitable for two. Easily suited for two and priced at $6.50, the mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes, chopped red bell peppers and onions, gorgonzola and walnuts w/ vinaigrette is a great value.

                          The pizzas they turn out look great and that is borne out thoroughly in the taste, particularly as regards the great cornmeal crust and excellent sauce- I think it was cracked coriander scattered about in the sauce that married with the fennel in the sausage really well. Amount of cheese was perfect.

                          There were two of us; we're not particularly hefty eaters and came away with just two slices to take home so I can't agree with the comments that the small deep dish is too hearty a lunch for two. It's only $5 more, I now have 2 slices of top-notch deep dish pizza @$2.50 per for lunch tomorrow-why bother with the small? I might point out that I have a bias completely unsupported by any sort of technical knowledge whatsoever that pizzas of this sort have to be of a certain (large) size to get the flavor balance right in the baking process...

                          My only Chicago benchmark is Lou Malnati's River North location (though I'll be fixing that shortly); on that basis as well as it's own considerable merits, Little Star makes the grade.

                          Four active tap handles (2 New Belgium offerings, Racer 5, Sierra Kellerweiss) with two vacant.

                          There is a side door near the bar so you don't have to go to the front of the house for take-out orders.

                          This is destination pizza; we'll be back.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Pius Avocado III

                            Two slices left over sounds about right for the average eaters. I don't think anyone was complaining that the pies are too big, just that it's quite a hearty lunch--certainly if you're by yourself. In such cases, the by-the-slice option is a nice alternative, though I don't know how well that works (or would work) with the deep dish.

                          2. Yeah, I went there two Tuesdays ago. I enjoyed my spinach pizza. I liked that it wasn't too cheesy and I liked the cornmeal crust.

                            I'd gladly go back for more.

                            1. I called in my order because I hate waiting for food. The deep dish pizza takes 25 minutes to cook so if you're gonna eat there call it in! Then tell the waiter/waitress that your order is in so you don't have to wait forever. Once seated I ordered a Mixed Salad Small $6.50 enough for 2 people. They make that once you get there & it's pretty fast.

                              We got our pizza in a few minutes. That was Awesome. I got: 1/2 Classic - sausage, mushrooms, onions, green bells + 1/2 Little Star - spinach blended w/ ricotta & feta, mushrooms, onions, garlic. Small 9" is enough for 2. It's 6 total slices - we each got 1.5 slice Classic, 1.5 slice Little Star. Salad + 3 slices makes you really full. We both thought the Little Star was tastier.

                              $18 + $6.50 = $24.50 + $2.39 tax = $26.89 before tip. Credit cards taken, we paid Cash.

                              I'll try the Thin Crust White Pie $17.50 Small 12" next time.

                              NO Slices available - someone asked about that. I know they sold slices for Solano Stroll.

                              FREE water in Carafe given quickly.

                              Separate bathrooms available.

                              Edit: First Mondays open 12-10pm the 1st Mon of Ea Month 10% of that Evenings sales will be donated to the Albany Education Foundation.

                              Solano Stroll
                              1563 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94707

                              1. Just noticed on their Web site that they'll be open the first Monday of each month.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Yes, a portion of the Monday evening sales goes to support Albany schools- word is that it is quite popular.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    YES! My daughter and I both purchased this coupon. Yum. . . little gem salad, wings, pizza to look forward to . . happy new year!

                                  2. Place was hopping last night, maybe thanks to the Groupon deal.

                                    Someday I'll branch out and try something other than the Classic, but it was great as usual. I think they've lightened the dish a bit from the Ike Sewell original: the crust isn't as oily, there's less cheese and sausage, more vegetables, and I think it's not quite as thick. Anyway, I'd been craving this for two or three weeks and it was entirely satisfactory. Nice that they have Racer 5 on draft.

                                    I had a bite of the cheesecake. It was fine though a bit sticky and sweet for my taste, I prefer the denser, drier style with a more pronounced sour cream flavor.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Another thought after having a leftover slice for lunch: their tomato sauce is really nicely seasoned.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        I think the cheesecake has improved. I'd tell them to hold the chocolate sauce.

                                      2. There was a note clipped to the menu last night about serving slices at lunch. I'm not sure what the hours / days were. They're now open seven days, noon to 10pm.

                                        Little Star Pizza
                                        1175 Solano Ave, Albany, CA

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Slices are available from opening to 4:00. Thin slices today were cheese ($2.75) and pepperoni ($3.00), and one deep-dish, forgot which one ($3.25).

                                        2. I think their hot wings are quite good there too.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. Had the Little star deep dish twice, thought it was excellent. The corn meal crust is just right, browned at the edges, the cheese melted nice with the tomatoes and spinach. The sauce is in the middle: not too little, not too much, and everything comes together--a nice mix of sweet and savory--the crust has a little hint of sweetness. This is good after the green goddess salad. Chocolate gelato good too! Rich and smooth. Butter pecan good as well. Nice family place, fills up quick. Timing is of the essence if you want to get a good seat, go around 4 or 5, that is a great time.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: lizzbronson

                                              The tomato sauce is on the top in the ones I've had.

                                              They'll do half-and-half, at least on the large size. Had the spinach, mushroom, and ricotta Little Star for the first time since the old Little Chicago / Albatross days, very nice but my favorite is still the Classic.