Chris Bianco is preparing to open his first official Pizzeria Bianco outside of the Phoenix area next week at ROW DTLA, debuting with New York City-style slices and whole pies initially during lunch hours before doing the complete wood-fired modern Neapolitan pizza about a month later for dinner. The opening comes years after Bianco teased a version of his iconic pizzeria in Los Angeles. When he opened Tartine/Bianco in the next building over at ROW DTLA, Bianco included a version of “flatbreads” but never a complete vision of his famous blistered pizza. He also opened Alameda Supper Club before the entire Tartine Manufactory closed just a year later.
Now, Bianco is bringing New York City-style slices and whole pies, something he only started doing during the pandemic in Arizona, to Los Angeles. “This is shit I grew up with, but I call it New York-ish. I didn’t want to get into the authenticity game,” says the chef about this 18-inch pie, six-slice-per-pizza situation for lunch. He says prices for each slice will reflect the rising prices of organic ingredients and labor, but expects most people to be able to have a slice or two for lunch given their size. Whole pies will start around $30, which is in line with competitors like Apollonia’s, Ghisallo, Tomato Pie, and other artisan New York City-style pizzerias. “I’m just going for it,” says Bianco, about the lunch and dinner pizza menus in Downtown.
Discussing the potential sticker shock of the slices and pies, Bianco was honest about what it costs to make food of this caliber. “Everyone needs a raise. I’m down to give it but the effect is something we have to have a conversation about. We could use the cheapest stuff and do a version of that. [This pizza] is elite, but not elitist. It’s a slice of something really good for under $10. It’s still affordable and a good value.” Diners can also anticipate focaccia sandwiches that resemble the chef’s excellent stuff from Pane Bianco, plus some salads, fresh burrata, and other apps that might complement the New York slices.
Eager not to repeat the mistakes of the past, Bianco is bringing over a near replica of his famous Phoenix pizzeria for dinner, with a wood-fired oven to prepare whole 12-inch blistered pies for dinner. Seasonal salads, appetizers, and desserts will reflect what’s available from farmers markets and other top purveyors, says Bianco. During dinner, the slice shop will shut down though people who want to take home a whole pizza can opt to do that during evening hours. During the day, the front of the space will be available to enjoy slices while in the evenings the lounge area, which served as the counter for the former Paramount Coffee Project, will act as a place to sip wines and wait for tables.
As for the dining areas, there will be 40 seats inside plus ample outdoor patios with reservations accepted, a boon for Pizzeria Bianco fans who might’ve had to wait hours at the chef’s Downtown Phoenix location. And like Bianco’s Arizona restaurants, the look reflects a found object, a laid-back design featuring art painted by his father, who passed away recently. The early-1900s warehouse space also features well with Bianco’s overall aesthetic, with worn industrial textures coupled with modern banquettes and seating. With large garage doors that open up, the interior has a very airy, breezy feel that should resonate with LA diners.
Pizzeria Bianco is slated to open next Thursday, June 16, though with Bianco in Chicago over the weekend for the James Beard Awards (he’s nominated for Best Restaurateur), it’s not a guaranteed opening date. But with all the fixtures and decor in place, with the kitchen ready to start churning out pies, Pizzeria Bianco should finally make its debut this month, with the full wood-fired dinner menu available a few weeks later.