Bootleg Pizza is now open on Pico Boulevard, adding its name to the already-growing pantheon of pan pizza options around greater Los Angeles. Owner Kyle Lambert started his operation long before the pandemic began, selling slices from a small commissary kitchen on Fairfax before turning things over to a (somewhat finicky) food truck. Now he’s got a storefront all his own.
Lambert and his team quietly opened the doors to Bootleg Pizza at 5504 W. Pico Boulevard over the weekend, dishing out slices to fans and followers inside a spiffy new red and white space. The small operation doesn’t have any indoor seating at the moment, but expect some counter availability once indoor dining is again allowed — likely in a post-coronavirus vaccine world. Otherwise the room is taken up by a brand new deck oven, ordering area, and Lambert himself personally handling the pies.
Whereas other pizza options like Quarter Sheets, DTown Pizzeria, Apollonia’s, Dough Daddy, and the like are more directly inspired from the high-walled, cheese-to-the-edges look of Detroit-style pizzas, Lambert has said for years that his motivation comes from a kind of grandma-style Jersey slice he grew up admiring. His pies have morphed some since those early days, but fans still know Bootleg from its competitors thanks to the square (not rectangular) shape and extra-blistered edges. The restaurant will also sell garlic knots (aka stinky uglies), a caesar salad, drinks, and more.
Lambert, who lives in the Mid-City neighborhood, tells Eater that Bootleg will keep limited hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. only over at least the next few days, selling slices and whole pies to whoever shows up. Eventually the plan is to grow hours to 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with an extension to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Delivery will be available via Postmates and Doordash, but keep up to date on Instagram to find out when that start, exactly.
Despite the terrible and uncertain moment for all restaurants in Southern California and beyond, pizza has proven to be a popular, somewhat sustainable seller. The result is a slew of underground pizza pop-ups and realtime pizza ‘pivots,’ from the pies that Antico sells to the pan style done by Cafe Birdie in Highland Park. As cases continue to spike in LA County and cold weather creeps in, expect pizza to continue to be the talk of the times.