Will and Karen Gioia, whose popular Berkeley pizza shop Gioia Pizzeria celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, are bringing their New York-style slices to Hayes Valley next month. The couple’s new location is bound for 579 Hayes Street, a compact and cozy space (formerly Two Sisters Bar and Books), where they’ll sell full pies and pizza by-the-slice, plus sandwiches and salads, all with an emphasis on take-out and delivery.
Last Fall, the Gioias decided to close their full-service Polk Street pizza restaurant after a six-year run, trading it for the smaller space on a buzzy block of Hayes Street. Another restaurant specializing in pizza, the Richmond’s Fiorella, expanded to fill Gioia’s shoes on Polk.
Now Will and Karen are putting the finishing touches on their new, 900-square-foot space (vacated by Two Sisters back in 2017). There, they’ll offer pizzas like a salsiccia (a favorite at their Berkeley shop, with house-made Sicilian sausage, pickled jalapeños, pecorino, mozzarella, and tomato sauce) and a Julian (with Calabrese sausage, onion, garlic and chili flakes). Customers can order whole 14-inch or 18-inch pies, or just get a slice.
That’s notable in San Francisco, where high-quality pizza — typically in a wood-fired Italian style — has proliferated in past years, but quick service slices have lagged. Delfina’s Craig Stoll, for example, jokes that now there’s “an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria on every corner.” But slice shops, those hallmarks of New York street corners, are fewer and farther between. Perhaps that’s changing: Another pizza newcomer, Flour & Water Pizzeria, promises large slices from a take-out window when it opens this month on Valencia Street.
Stay tuned for a closer look at the new Gioia space, designed by Richardson Architects with Oakland-based Oakology, as the couple fires up their first pies soon. And, too complete their East Coast-inspired offerings, Gioia will also offer meatball and chicken parm sandwiches at the new location.