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Top North Beach Pizzeria Opening Roman-Style Pinsa Restaurant and Cocktail Bar

The Il Casaro team is bringing a pinseria to the Panta Rei space

Inside the oven at Il Casaro
Il Casaro/Facebook

The team behind hit North Beach pizzeria Il Casaro is busy preparing a second branch of their casual, contemporary Italian restaurant on Church Street, after recently converting their other restaurant, Vicoletto, into Pasta Pop-up (which is permanent, despite the name). Now partners Francesco Covucci and Peter Fazio are hard at work on another new project: Barbara Pinseria & Cocktail Bar in North Beach at 431 Columbus Avenue, formerly home to Panta Rei.

That new restaurant will serve the airy, thin-crusted Roman-style pizza known as pinsa, which is already popular among in-the-know SF diners at SoMa restaurant Montesacro. Barbara Pinseria & Cocktail Bar will open in about a month according to Covucci, and “it’s gonna be super good,” he adds.

Google street view

“The pinsa flour,” Covucci explains, “it’s a mix of semolina, rice flour, and wheat flour. It’s actually super organic, and it’s [more] gluten-free.” Another big difference from typical pizza dough is how it’s proofed: “It has about 80 percent water, and it’s a 72 hour proof,” resulting in dough that’s very elastic and is typically baked in oblong ovals rather than neat circles.

The Barbara space, located on a thinly sliced corner of Columbus and Stockton, is actually two spaces: One will serve as a full restaurant and bar, and the other, Barbara Express, won’t serve pinsa, but will offer Roman-style pizza — which is often served in square slices, or al taglio (literally “by the cut”) — for takeout or delivery.

Stay tuned for news on Barbara’s bar program and an exact opening date, as well as word on the progress at Il Casaro number two.

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