Before diving into the details, here’s the long and short of it: David White, one of the original partners behind Flour + Water and the restaurant’s associated restaurant group, has parted ways with the company. So while he’s no longer in at Harrison Street, White has retained the space at 702 Valencia Street, currently home to Flour + Water Pizzeria, which spun off from the pasta-focused original in 2019.
White plans to close Flour + Water Pizzeria in mid-June, however, so he can flip the space into Yellow Moto Pizzeria. Fans can expect new branding, mostly aesthetic renovations to the space, and the addition of a full bar and cocktail menu. The pizzas, however, won’t be changing at all, he promises. “The core concept is not going to change,” White says, simply. “We just want it to be a little bit more fun, less serious.”
Now for the nitty gritty: White says he resigned from Ne Timeas Restaurant Group (since rebranded as Flour + Water Hospitality Group) in May 2020, and he’s been focused on the pizzeria ever since. So anyone who’s gotten a pie recently has already experienced the restaurant under White’s sole control. For the past two years, including those difficult months of the early pandemic, White says he’s been working 100 hours a week at the restaurant “handing takeout boxes out of the window.” He’s a longtime Mission resident and says he’s enjoyed focusing on a business that’s right in his own figurative backyard.
In terms of the restaurant’s new direction, White says the goal is to make it a more relaxed space. “The existing brand it just felt a bit too serious for me,” he says. Yellow Moto takes its name from White’s actual ride: a 1963 bright yellow Lambretta Italian scooter, on which you might catch him cruising the streets of the Mission on any given day. He says he wanted to channel ideas like freedom, movement, beauty, and fun with the name and branding and to make the restaurant’s connection to Italy — it is, after all, a pizzeria — more implied, as opposed to overt, since he’s not Italian.
The food won’t change much; chef Oleg Sheyner has been on board since early fall 2021 and won’t be going anywhere. So expect the same lineup of antipasti, salads, pizzas, and soft serve. There will be some new additions, including more vegetable-heavy options and, most notably, a full bar. Until now, the restaurant has offered beer and wine only, but following that upcoming temporary closure, Studio KDA will come in to add a 20-seat dedicated bar space. Enrique Sanchez, who also did the cocktail menu at Traci Des Jardins’s El Alto, will write the cocktail list.
White was one of Flour + Water’s three original partners, alongside David Steele and chef Thomas McNaughton, when the now legendary pasta restaurant debuted in 2009. Today the restaurant falls under a group that includes Penny Roma and Flour + Water Pasta Shop, plus a partnership over at Trick Dog; the company is led by “co-chefs Thomas McNaughton and Ryan Pollnow, and their partners Kara Bratcher, Vanya Shekell, and David Steele,” per the group’s website.
White says all the partners have “strongly held views of what we want to do,” which for him meant expanding the pizzeria “in a different way at a different place,” something he’ll now have the freedom to do. “I think the pandemic really made all of us, everyone, think differently about things,” White says. “I would return to the comment of being a more inclusive thing to more people, more come as you are, more connected to the immediate community.”
Flour + Water Pizzeria will close on June 17 and reopen as Yellow Moto Pizzeria in mid-July.