San Franciscans are snobby about a lot of things—what they wear, what they read, what they listen to, and most importantly what they eat and drink. Please see the coffee snob, the cocktail snob, the sushi snob. And here now, for the people who don't know what the hell they're talking about, some primers. Welcome to A Snob's Guide.
With new dedicated pizzerias and even trucks that have popped up in the last couple of years, San Francisco feels as if it's going through a significant pizza explosion right now. Before this, it was relatively easy to keep up with where the best pies were happening and just point the compass to one of several notable spots, but an actual primer (though it may never be exhaustive enough) has become a helpful way to keep current with what's out there today.
Here now, A Snob's Guide to San Francisco Pizza, in alphabetical glossary form.
A16: Long-standing Marina Italian restaurant thriving on large doses of Italian-style pizza and one of the best wine programs in the city.
Arinell: Stalwart specialist of the New York style slice definitely has the attitude part down if nothing else. Due to its location amongst the bars and bike lanes of the Mission, bicyclists and the over-served make up a large portion of clientele.
Arizmendi: Sunset and Mission cooperative (and sister businesses to Berkeley's Cheese Board) that offers a daily seasonal pizza to eat immediately or partially bake at home.
Beretta: A Mission cocktail and Neapolitan pizza hotspot. Also see Castro sister Starbelly, and Marina cousin Delarosa.
Blondie's Pizza: UC Berkeley's veteran stalwart cheap pizza spot has a Powell Street outpost.
Casey's Pizza: San Francisco's first pizza truck, launched in 2011 by Casey Crynes, evolved from an underground cart inspired by The Pizza Hacker to a fully mobile vehicle with a gas-fired oven onboard.
Chicago style: Also known as deep dish, a pie typically made with a tall, often buttery cornmeal crust, generous amounts of sauce, and cheese.
Del Popolo: Quite possibly the country's biggest food truck containing a wood-fired oven surrounded by glass walls. It launches May 15 from former Flour + Water pizzaiolo Jon Darsky.
Detroit style: Liberal amounts of Midwestern brick cheese and garlic butter accented with racing stripes of tomato sauce make the foundation for a pizza baked in a rectangular pan. It's served locally at Tony's Pizza Napoletana.
Eagle Pizzeria: A Parkside parlor known for its gluten-free crust option.
Flour + Water: Three-year-old Mission restaurant specializing in handmade pasta and Neapolitan style pizza.
Gialina: Sharon Ardiana's Glen Park pizzeria attracts neighborhood families and Michael Bauer with Neapolitan pizzas and a homey atmosphere featuring photos of her Italian relatives. She opened a second very similar restaurant, Ragazza, on Divisadero St. in 2010.
Goat Hill Pizza: Located in both Potrero Hill and SoMa, Goat Hill features the city's most famous all-you-can eat pizza deal for its thin-crusted pies every Monday for $10.95.
Gioia Pizzeria: The San Francisco location of this seven-year-old Berkeley stalwart has sold 3000 pies in its first 18 days of service.
Golden Boy Pizza: Dennis Leary-approved weekend late night North Beach staple hawking thick, square shaped slabs.
International School of Pizza: Tony Gemignani (of Tony's Pizza Napoletana) hosts master classes in pizza technique and acrobatic twirling above his North Beach restaurant.
Little Star Pizza: Deep dish specialist with locations in the Mission, Western Addition, and East Bay.
Mozzeria: San Francisco's (and possibly the worlds?) first deaf-owned and operated pizzeria serving Neapolitan-style crusts out of Steffano Ferrara oven.
Neapolitan style: Thin crusted, floppy-centered pie cooked at high temperature in a wood-burning oven. Traditionally a Neapolitan pie is not cut into slices, although many San Francisco renditions entertain the American triangular eating style.
New York style: Thin and foldable hand-tossed pizza. In true American form, slices tend to be served large.
Patxi's Chicago Pizza: Little Star's deep dish competitor has locations in the Fillmore, Hayes Valley, Sunset, and Noe Valley as well as the South and East Bay Areas.
Pauline's Pizza: 26-year-old artisanal pizza pioneer that grows many of its own ingredients in the Mission.
The Pizza Hacker: Jeff Krupman's pizza business started on the street out of a modified Weber grill dubbed the Franken-Weber. His pies—made in the Neapolitan and Tartine bread traditions—can now be found at Vinyl on Thursdays and in Luke's Local's meal box.
Pizza Orgasmica: A mini-chain with three SF locations known to shock neighborhoods more for the color choice of buildings than the "sinful" name.
Pizzetta 211: Small excellent Richmond District cafe with four tables that typically sells out of its changing Neapolitan-style daily selections when they run out of dough.
Pizzeria Delfina: Acclaimed SF pizza institution from Craig and Annie Stoll. See also Delfina.
Ragazza: Sharon Ardiana of Gialina opened up this paean to California-Neapolitan pizza in 2010.
Roman style: Long and thin rectangular pizza, served locally by the meter at Tony's Pizza Napoletana.
Stefano Ferrara: Neapolitan maker of the benchmark for wood-fired Italian pizza ovens. His beauts can be found in a number of San Francisco pizzerias: Zero Zero, Mozzeria, Cupola, etc. and aboard the Del Popolo pizza truck.
Tony's Pizza Napoletana: North Beach powerhouse serving many international styles whose owner and manager have taken home multiple world championship titles in dough acrobatics. Also see the neighboring Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza and Slice House and the International School of Pizza upstairs.
Una Pizza Napoletana: Cult-followed pizzeria from Anthony Mangieri that relocated from Manhattan to SoMa in 2010, bringing with it a priest to bless the first of the Neapolitan pies to come out of the oven. A line forms to partake in his minimalist pizza only menu each night.
Zante Pizza & Indian Cuisine: An Indian and pizza restaurant under one roof, Zante's beloved "Indian pizza" sprung from the marriage of tandoori toppings and Italian crust.
Zero Zero: Bruce Hill's San Francisco answer to his adored Picco in Larkspur, Zero Zero provides an ode to Neapolitan pies in SoMa, named after the Italian flour used to create the style.
· All Pizza Week 2012 Coverage [~ ESF ~]