For years Pitfire Pizza creators David Sanfield and Paul Hibler felt as though the experience of Pitfire didn't match the quality and value of their wood-fired, market driven pizza pies and more. Thus, after hiring architect Barbara Bestor, receiving a nomination for a James Beard design award, and winning the AIA restaurant design award last year both for the Culver City location -- the restaurant "blew up" and changed their perspective on the importance of design. Sanfield/Hibler went back to the drawing board and redesigned pre-existing pizzerias.
For Pitfire's fifth location, situated within the new 801 N. Fairfax complex at Fairfax and Waring, the team brought on MASS Architecture to design a mid-century modern restaurant with an Eames-esque slant. Here one will find several seating options on multiple levels (inside and out), plus a central bar positioned in front of the signature massive red pizza oven that pours from a twenty foot ceiling. This is easily Pitfire's most compelling aesthetic, foosball table and all, though design elements -- angular wooden booths, the red oven, the open ceiling -- connect back to previous interiors.
Hibler explains that he and Sanfield are "developing Pitfire's growth as a 'Case Study Restaurant Project.' Very much in the spirit of the case study homes in Los Angeles in the fifties. I get the great challenge of identifying the next Lautner or Neutra. And I mean that with the humblest intention."
As previously mentioned, next up in the world of expansion is a Costa Mesa Pitfire in the Marie Callender's space, to be designed by Anthony Agriam of Gjelina fame. This location, slated to open in July, will include a "secret test kitchen" and a speakeasy called Pie Society.
With the inception of Pitfire Pizza branch five, Sanfield/Hibler finally feel like they have created a balanced restaurant. Food, design, and community in one.
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