Jason Neroni knows a thing or two about pizza. The Rose Venice chef has been quietly serving pizzas in New York City at his B Side Pizza in Hell’s Kitchen for eight years while continuing to put out excellent wood-fired pies at his very-busy restaurant the Rose for nearly just as long. Culver City will be the beneficiary of Neroni’s pizza obsession with the soon-to-open Best Bet, which is going into the former A-Frame building in March 2023.
When Best Bet was originally announced in 2019, Neroni intended to flip the space quickly and open by early 2020, but the pandemic stymied those plans. Since then, there were whispers that Neroni would make Tokyo-style pizzas in the space, though the chef says he’s not sure where those rumors came from. Here’s everything to know about Best Bet before its debut next spring.
On transforming the space
“It had definitely seen its time. It had been through an IHOP, a Mexican restaurant, and then [Roy Choi’s] A-Frame. It really needed to be rebirthed,” says Neroni. “We gutted the entire thing, took it down to the bones, and beyond the bones. We framed it, redid the roof, added new plumbing and electrical. It’s a very personal journey for me and my family. We designed every nut and bolt, every table and bar fixture.”
On the California Italian menu
“We’ve been working on [the menu] for three-and-a-half years. I have a deep love for pizza and I really wanted to do something I truly loved and believed in,” says Neroni. The restaurant isn’t so much a pizza place, but a restaurant that serves pizza, he says. The chef intends to serve 10- and 20-inch pies — the smaller ones wood-fired and the larger ones more New York-style. He’ll have Sicilian/focaccia-style square pizza and fried Montanara-style pizza, something not very common in Los Angeles. The chef, who maintains a house in Italy, will source Italian ingredients including burrata from Puglia and rare salumi. Beyond pizza, expect binchotan-grilled meats and rotisserie-cooked lamb shoulder and short ribs. Neroni also hopes to introduce three to four new pasta dishes.
On commissary kitchens
It’s a bit of a secret that the Rose uses a commissary kitchen for things like dough-making, dry-aging meats, and charcuterie production. (The bread at the Rose is still baked on site.) Located near the Costco in Marina del Rey, the commissary will handle Best Bet’s heavy-duty preparation, like dry-aging meat and fermenting hundreds of pounds of pizza dough, to ensure a higher level of consistency.
On interior design
Anyone who follows Neroni on Instagram knows the chef is a huge fan of all things comic books and Disney (his first cooking job was at Disneyland’s Club 33). Neroni says the restaurant’s logo and interior designs have a heavy comic book influence, with a retro ’70s feel to the decor.
Because the Culver City building used to house an IHOP, locals were keen to ask for pancakes on A-Frame’s menu. A-Frame in turn went all-in with pancakes, offering all-you-can-eat pancakes during holiday weekends. Neroni says that Best Bet will have some kind of weekend brunch pancake to keep with the building’s tradition.
On hours of operations
The restaurant will serve dinner and weekend brunch to start, says Neroni, and eventually expand to all-day service with a wide menu of pizza, pasta, and rotisserie and grilled meats.