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Gioia Pizzeria Opens for Quick, Quality Slices in Hayes Valley

Take a look inside the chic new shop

Gioia Pizzeria opens today for a hot slice of New York City in buzzy Hayes Valley. And for owners Karen and Will Gioia, the new quick-service pizza, sandwich, and salad destination at 579 Hayes Street represents a return to their roots: Both in Berkeley, where the couple opened the original Gioia as a slice shop 15 years ago, and in New York, whose slice-slinging pizzerias provide Gioia’s inspiration.

The Gioias closed their second pizzeria location, a full-service restaurant, on Polk Street after a six-year run this fall. Downsizing was “bittersweet,” but in restaurant flush Hayes Valley, they’ll fill a notably lacking niche: The quick bite.

“It’s not an adaptation of the New York style,” says Will, who grew up on similar slices in Brooklyn and met Karen in culinary school. “I think it’s a true New York style.”

That means a sturdy, slightly charred pizza crust designed to travel and reheat well: Each slice, $4.25, will be heated to order, and home reheating instructions are included with each pie purchased.

“I love Neapolitan pizza,” says Karen, who learned to cook pizza on wood-burning ovens at East Bay legends Oliveto and Chez Panisse. “But they just don’t travel as well.“ Third-party delivery through apps like Seamless and Uber will be available from the Hayes Valley location, too.

In Berkeley, Gioia’s bestselling slice is funghi (roasted cremini mushrooms, thyme, parsley, garlic oil, and tomato sauce), and other staples include the Julian (house-made Calabrese sausage, lacinato kale, red onion, chili flakes, and mozzarella). Those are on the menu at Hayes Valley (below) along with more quick and travel friendly food, like chicken parmesan sandwiches and Karen’s seasonally changing salads.

The new location is the former Two Sisters Bar and Books space, remodeled for much more room in the kitchen, with limited seating and all orders taken at a central, walk-up counter. “The storefront reminded me of one of those stores in the West Village, where everything looks like a jewel box — but I didn’t want to make it too precious,” says Karen. She and Will worked with Richardson Architects and Oakland-based Oakology on details like Gioia’s menu board and counter, and SF artist Nathaniel Russell contributed works illustrating the San Francisco and New York skylines.

Starting today, Gioia Pizzeria Hayes Valley is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Gioia’s new signage
Will and Karen Gioia worked with Richardson Architects and Oakland-based Oakology on the design
The menu board and to-go boxes
Seating inside the new shop
Cushioned seating in the window
Artwork by Nathaniel Russell
Looking out onto Hayes Street
Asparagi and ricotta pizza
Salsiccia pizza
Chop salad
Meatballs in “Sunday sauce”
Pizza, served by the slice
Caesar salad
Chicken parm sub
Chop salad
Apsaragi and ricotta pizza
Karen and WIll Gioia

Gioia Pizzeria

579 Hayes Street, , CA 94102 Visit Website
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