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Santa Monica’s Tar and Roses Has a New Wood-Fired Takeout Pizza Situation

Andrew Kirschner’s restaurant is finally using its wood-fired oven for its original purpose

White clam pizza at Tar and Roses.
White clam pizza at Tar and Roses
Jakob Layman
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Andrew Kirschner is feeling pretty chipper these days. His Santa Monica restaurant Tar and Roses, which underwent a reconstruction after enduring substantial damage earlier this year, is back and running at nearly the same capacity despite only have patio and sidewalk seating. And he’s starting a new takeout pizza operation that should cater well to the neighborhood. Using the wood-fired oven that was the heart and soul of the California-Mediterranean menu, he’ll begin serving 14 inch neo-Neapolitan pizzas this weekend in five different topping combinations. The white clam pizza in particular is a bit of a find, since clam pizza isn’t nearly as popular in LA as it is in the Northeast.

The crust has a bit more development and structure than a straight Neapolitan, but the slices won’t be as sturdy as a New York pie. The edges of the crust get a decent blistering from the oven, and comes with a waft to the wood aroma. The pricing at the moment seems fairly reasonable, from $16 for a margherita to $21 for the clam pizza. The only real comparison in the neighborhood is Milo & Olive, which has similarly priced, but substantially smaller, pies.

Tar and Roses pizza is probably big enough for two modest eaters, but the move would be to get the $40 pizza and wine combo, which gives you a choice of any pizza plus a bottle of house wine they’re calling Pizza Juice, in either a red or rose. The margherita uses both buffalo and a bit of standard mozzarella for extra cheesiness while the spicy nduja is Kirschner’s take on Hawaiian — but with actual fresh pineapple and little nobs of the spicy Italian spreadable sausage. A loaded mushroom pizza comes with hen of the woods and cremini, while the prosciutto-arugula pie rounds out the offerings.

The pizzas are only available via takeout and delivery (through Postmates) beginning this weekend, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday, so don’t sit down at Tar and Roses expecting to get an $18 pizza for dinner.

Tar & Roses

602 Santa Monica Boulevard, , CA 90401 (310) 587-0700 Visit Website