[Photo: Rose Garrett]
Fans of PizzaHacker, Jeff Krupman's itinerant pizza operation, will soon have a permanent spot to enjoy his signature pies. Officially opening the second weekend of January (but softly open on some whisper-quiet nights this month), the new brick-and-mortar brings fresh life to the former Inkas location on Mission Street.
New to the space is a chalkboard that stretches the length of one wall, plus casual, picnic table seating and both bar seating and a lean-in ledge for pizza-eaters on the go. True to his pop-up roots, Krupman plans to keep the menu simple, at least to start with. Four pizzas anchor the menu: pepperoni, olives and hot peppers; sausage; arugula with lemon, chili paste and garlic, and both a simple margherita and a top-shelf alternative made from home-canned tomato sauce. 12-inch pizzas will go for around $15 each, and Krupman says slices, especially for lunch, could be in the works. The salad is inspired by the famed Cafe Intermezzo version, complete with a hefty dose of lettuce, chickpeas, kidney beans and more, tossed in a choice of dressing (Krupman is still trying to perfect a poppyseed dressing to match that of Intermezzo, which closed following a fire). Beer and wine will be on offer, with three rotating taps of beer featuring local brews and wine on tap from Emeryville's Periscope.
Krupman plans to keep details loose, citing the chalkboard which he'll use for guest feedback. He's also planning on hosting special "test flights" once a week, where guests can sample two similar pizza halves and offer A/B testing for future recipes. The pizza offering leaves much of the spot's kitchen free, and Krupman says he's considering hosting some pop-ups (or "pop-ins") from other local chefs. Lunch, brunch, take-out and late-night hours are all possibilities, says Krupman, but for now, he's playing it by ear. After hustling in the pop-up game, he's happy to have a home. "It's just so nice to have a single place, like a home base, that I can work from."
PizzaHacker's Backyard will be open for dinner starting in early January, but it'll be softly open tonight and Saturday. Follow the super-secret soft opening dates on the PizzaHacker's Twitter.