A long-awaited sequel to tiny, ever-crowded Outer Richmond classic Pizzetta 211 (est. 1999) is finally ready to open next month: Pearl, a café by day and seafood-focused restaurant by night, will serve its first customers on Tuesday, May 22nd.
At 6101 California Street, Pearl is right around the corner from its predecessor (at 211 23rd Ave). The 40-seat corner space — massive by the standards of the postage stamp-sized Pizzetta 211 — was formerly a laundromat, and its conversion to restaurant use has been a serious endeavor, beset by delays.
Now, the results are almost in: High, 17-foot ceilings, big, bright windows, and banquettes in which to luxuriate. Pearl’s presence could even relieve Pizzetta’s well-know wait times — though we’ll have to see about that.
The new restaurant’s co-chefs, Mel Lopez (Pizzetta 211, Baker & Banker, Aziza, Zero Zero) and Joyce Conway (Zero Zero, 20 Spot), won’t be making pizza, however. The duo is known for their monthly feminist pop-up dinner series, B.L.U.D. (Bitches Liven Up Dinner), which debuted at Pizzetta in 2015.
After Pearl serves coffee and pastry by day, with cafe style outdoor tables for lounging, their evening focus will be seafood and house-made pastas. Fueled by a wood-fired oven, Conway and Lopez will serve whole local fish preparations, oven baked ricotta, and “family supper” dishes like wood oven octopus. Per the name, there are indeed oysters (with crispy dulse seaweed, Calabrian chili, horseradish, and lemon). Meanwhile, heat lamps and blankets will make outdoor dining a possibility.
A full sample menu is below, with prices to come — during the planning stages, Lopez told Eater that small plates would run under $15, with entrees and housemade pastas between $22 and $30 — but hey, that was 2016.
While Pizzetta owner Jack Murphy will oversee the operation at Pearl, the new restaurant is employee-owned and operated. Susan Dunn is general manager, and Nahiel Nazzal is bar manager: That’s right, they’ve got a full liquor license, and samples from Nazzal’s cocktail menu are below.