Melrose is in line for a new kind of slice joint to be called Blackbird Pizza Shop, landing its wings right next to the now-shuttered Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese and opposing neighbor EAK Ramen. The eatery is meant to be a casual kind of hang-out joint for the neighborhood, where pies and sides mix with beer and wine for a fun night out.
Chef/owner Luis Ulloa is no stranger to the restaurant kitchen, having spent decades working mostly in New York City under names like Jean-Georges and Michael Mina. He also helmed Slightly Oliver and The Winslow for a time, but more recently has been back on the West Coast helping out one of the founders of Little Star Pizza up in San Francisco.
Now Ulloa is taking some Melrose frontage, with plans to bring Blackbird to life by the first of September. The place is actually mostly done now, Ulloa tells Eater, but with some pending permitting it seems smarter to wait through the height of summer and all the paperwork, then jump into the fall. When all is said and done, expect a small, open, casual room for a variety of pizzas.
Ulloa says much of the focus will be on canned beers, making for a decidedly different kind of place than, say, the nearly impenetrable Jon & Vinny’s not far away. In fact, he’s adamant about keeping the place aggressively casual and with a half-punk kind of sensibility, instead of many of the other (hard to get into and harder to get service at) restaurants around.
Blackbird will have some close local competition though, as Mozza basically owns the Melrose pizza narrative just to the east. A block in the other direction is Spartina, where another longtime NYC vet Stephen Kalt is also doing pies with a three-day dough ferment. Regardless, there’s likely enough beer and pizza for everyone to get along just fine. Expect a September opening for Blackbird, if not sooner.
Blackbird Pizza Shop
7459 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA