Itria, a new Italian restaurant, is opening in the Mission tomorrow, May 20, in the former Obispo space at 24th and Mission. The restaurant is serving bubbly, focaccia-like pan pizza for takeout and delivery to start, but expect more courses to follow as the city reopens — the restaurant is promising fresh pasta and crudo when the dining room officially opens to guests. Its chef, Daniel Evers, comes from Al’s Place and Cotogna, while partner Min Park is the entrepreneur behind Rooster and Rice and Bonchon.
Evers and Park started partnering on pop-ups in fall 2019 before the pandemic interrupted their search for a space. They signed on the former Obispo space in January 2021, and say they’re excited to finally open doors now — even if they’re backing into their original concept and business plan. Itria was intended to be a pasta tasting counter, in the same service style as several omakase and robata counters that were trending pre-pandemic. “The original game plan was a smaller space, almost like a pasta and crudo bar, kind of casual, like a ramen counter but for pasta,” Evers says. “You come in, you get a couple of small bites, some nice acidic, beautiful raw fish, and a glass of wine.”
In those before times, a new restaurant might open the dining room first, then consider adding takeout. But of course, the world is still flipped upside down, and Itria is starting with pizza delivery. “I feel like I’m opening a restaurant backwards,” Evers jokes. The restaurant is bolstering the Bay Area’s unmissable pandemic pizza trend, with new spots such as Sunset Squares, DamnFine, Brewvino, and a number of pop-ups. But if the past year has proven anything, it’s that San Franciscans can never have too many pizza options on speed-dial.
Evers comes from a few strong Italian restaurants, and he did sweat the details on the dough. It’s not Neopolitan style, the puffed and pillowy favorite of the past decade in San Francisco, nor is it Detroit style, the square trend that’s taken the city by storm in the past few years. This dough falls somewhere between classic American delivery crust — not too thick, and not too thin — and a bubbly focaccia. He uses conventional yeast, but cold ferments it over a couple of days before shaping it into a rectangle and baking it off on hot steel pans to get that pop.
The results, he says, are crispy on the bottom, bubbly on top, and hold up well in a box. The chef says he did timed tests every 15 minutes, to see how it cooled, and his fiancé refuses to eat any more pizza.
It’s a short and sweet menu for now, with four different flavors of pizza, from a very Californian broccoli rabe and soppressata, to the somewhat divisive Hawaiian, but in this case with thick bacon, fresh pineapple, and Fresno chiles. There are also a couple of chopped salads and meatballs to start, and slab of tiramisu infused with Vietnamese coffee, which Evers says was partially inspired by Hanoi egg coffee, and swears only gets better on the second day. Check out the full menu, below.
The dining room is currently stacked with pizza boxes, and not ready for the big reveal just yet. Itria is takeout and delivery only to start, and planning to expand to indoor dining this summer. Given the location, with 24th Street buses coming through, outdoor dining not an option. But D-Scheme design firm (also behind Alexander’s, One65, and Farmhouse Kitchen) is currently reimagining the white-washed former rum bar, adding in more brick details, and making the space more intimate. Stay tuned for the opening of indoor dining, and that second course of fresh pasta and crudo.
Starting Thursday, May 20, Itria is open Wednesday to Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m., starting with a pizza menu available for takeout and delivery.