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Oct 20, 2013 06:10 PM

New: Artichoke Basille's Pizza, Berkeley - any reports?

There's a new pizza place in Berkeley: Artichoke Basille's Pizza I saw on Yelp. Any reports? Yelper said it's a chain from NYC, but website doesn't mention Berkeley location, so not sure.

Artichoke Basille's Pizza
2590 Durant Ave, Berkeley

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  1. drove by noonish. looked all boarded up. not open yet?. it's next to the chinese bakery that closed recently.

    didn't stop to check out particulars.

    1. The Berkeleyside article said they're hoping to open before Halloween. They're converting it from retail use, so there are probably permits and inspections that could delay it. A building permit was just issued on October 8.

        1. re: Pius Avocado III

          Huh. Sounds kind of like Cheeseboard's crust, except for the "Grandma slice," which sounds like it was inspired by Detroit-style pizza.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I dont think grandma slices are connected to detroit.

            Most Grandma slices arent that thick. I thought the key ingredient was anchovies in the sauce, but that does not appear to be the case. And I dont recall seeing any with meat toppings.

            They are one of my favorites of the "standard" NYC Slice House offerings ... the tend to be a little smaller for one, so can try more variety ... will be nice to be able to get one out here.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Grandma slices have been around Long Island for a bit more than twenty years, and have become common in NYC more recently. It's a pan pizza, but the crust is thin and it's not overloaded with toppings. Full story:

              It sounds like Artichoke Basille will be the first to bring Grandma Pizza to the Bay Area. That still leaves an opportunity for someone else to bring garlic knots. Thankfully, we're savvy enough that Long Island abomination "salad pizza" will never see the light of day.

              1. re: hyperbowler

                Too late! Sliver on Center St already has what I would call a salad pizza, a slice topped with mixed salad greens. I've had it with a Thai red cabbage slaw. I actually like it.

                1. re: chocolatetartguy

                  Heh, "salad pizza" on Long Island is your typical pizzeria's "house salad" tossed onto a pizza--- iceberg lettuce, canned olives, shredded carrots, and bargain basement "Italian dressing" (salad oil, vinegar, & dried herbs). I'd assumed something so vile couldn't have derived from California!

                2. re: hyperbowler

                  Thick crust in a heavily oiled pan laden with so much cheese that it spills over and gets crisp sounds like they were influenced by Detroit style to me.

                  I think Ed Ladou might have invented salad pizza in the mid-80s when he developed the original menu for California Pizza Kitchen. I've seen them on lots of menus.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    The popular theory on the inspiration for Artichoke's square (and one that i ascribe to) is that it is attempting to replicate Dominic's pizza at DiFara, a Brookyn institution. Im fairly certain Dominic has never been to detroit (he moved to Brooklyn from italy, and started making pizzas to feed his 7 kids, the internet made him famous and thats how it is). His pies are, id say, a bit idiosyncratic, and his square is what made him famous - it is indeed a well oiled pan pizza, and an oily-crispy crust, verging on burnt (sadly closer than verging in more recent visits) is emblematic of his style.

                    I've never been a fan of Artichokes "regular" (round) pies/slices, but the square has hit the spot after a long night of drinking. my impression is that the quality control has suffered since they began expanding so aggressively (multiple NYC outposts at this point, plus a frozen line).

                  2. re: hyperbowler

                    FYI, A Slice of NY in the South Bay has garlic knots.

                    I texted a picture of some abominations-slices from a place on Bedford in Williamsburg to some friends ... i think one hand ranch dressing on it ... and got some concerned/upset responses :-)

                    >sounds like they were influenced by Detroit style to me.
                    that's a very specific diagnosis. when there is no reason to rule out common ancestor, convergent evolution, or coincidence.

                    Sliver also borrowed that from Cheeseboard before the split.
                    i dont think cheeseboard 5yrs ago had a slice more or less covered with loose raw greenery. i do see it from time to time now ... like you actually need to get a plastic fork to eat the greens off the slice.

                    BTW, I had a 10 or 15min conversation with that fellow Tony at Capo's some time back ... he is really excited to talk about pizza. He had a lot of say about Detroit and St. Louis pizza, among the more unusual pizza options. Anyway, if you spot him, he seems happy to talk to interested parties.

                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      I find the pan pizza at Rotten City to be a lot like a Long Island grandma slice. The crust is too thin to be called Sicilian, and they bake in an olive-oil coated pan, so it picks up just a little crunch.

                      1. re: hyperbowler

                        Good article on Staten Island pizza with brief mention of grandma pies here:


                          1. re: Pius Avocado III

                            I tried the grandma pie at Presidio Pizza and didn't like the sweet taste and heavier crust (compared with typical NY slices). I am not sure if it was the pesto or what but I don't like a sweet slice.

                  3. Wow! That's exciting... if it's anything like the original in NY, their sicilian pie is like nothing we have in the Bay Area! People get excited about the artichoke pizza but the star is the sicilian pie!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cubbee

                      Yeah, but will it be the same as NY with California water? (wink wink)

                      1. re: Tripeler

                        and things are never as good as the original when they expand, open more locations, move across country etc... their Chelsea restaurant isn't nearly as good as the original take out shop on 14th in the East Village... but let's hope it's close.

                    2. OMG i'm so excited!!!! But why Berkeley? :(( sigh so far.