There are any variety of dependable eating places to select from within the Elmwood neighborhood. The listing consists of, however just isn’t restricted to, Gordo’s burritos, Nabalom’s pastries, King Yen’s lettuce cups and the Center Jap plates at La Méditerranée.
Whereas pizzas are on the menus at Summer time Kitchen and, throughout the day, at Nabolom, spherical pies are the primary focus at State Flour Pizza Firm. State Flour’s chef and proprietor, Derek Lau, spent three years operating the kitchen at Suppenküche, along with a stint at PizzaHacker.
When requested what kind of pizza he determined to make at State Flour, Lau was much less excited by arising with a strict definition. “I used to be actually influenced by the stuff I had in New York and Connecticut,” he stated. Lau additionally stated PizzaHacker exerted an affect on his method, however he doesn’t attempt to declare any explicit model. After attempting a few them, most diners, and pizza fanatics, would say they’ve loads in widespread with Neapolitan pizza.
Each the Burrata ($22) and the Traditional Pep ($22) had skinny, blistered crusts with a number of, simply identifiable toppings. “I actually just like the New Haven char. I like Neapolitan cubes of cheese,” Lau defined. “Not all New York slices are skinny crust, however I actually like skinny crust pizza.” And he likes to make use of recent California produce. His present menu leads with an arugula, cherry tomato and squash pizza. One other consists of roasted cauliflower, garlic confit, pine nuts and parsley.
Years in the past, the house belonged to Locanda Olmo, which finally gave strategy to Troy after which to the lately closed Thai restaurant, Gai Barn. Lau’s method to inside design is decidedly minimal. The place Locanda Olmo went in a maximalist path, State Flour’s partitions are a heat off-white with no single factor hanging on them. “I need to add some crops within the entrance space,” he stated, “however to be trustworthy, like all eating places, we went somewhat over finances.” In the course of the restaurant’s first month, getting the meals proper has been on the forefront of his thoughts.
Regardless of the present low-key inside, the bustling kitchen emanates a heat, welcoming vibe. You’ll be able to really feel it whilst you’re passing by on the road. As an alternative of desk service, prospects order on the entrance counter earlier than settling in at a desk upstairs or downstairs. The vibe is due partially to Lau’s pleasant demeanor—he generally serves the pizzas himself—and to the pay construction he has carried out. Lau compensates all of his staff with the identical hourly wage. Back and front of home positions all share the information.
“For me, it goes over effectively with the ability to steadiness out wages,” he defined. “Generally, the particular person within the again or the dishwasher will get the least quantity of compensation. What I’m attempting to do is construct camaraderie, the place everyone’s making the identical. So we’re all on this collectively and one large crew.”
Lau is a father and a household man. “I wished State Flour to be a family-oriented place the place mother and pa can seize pizza and the youngsters are comfortable,” he stated. There’s a kids-sized pizza ($18) on the menu too. However mother and pa may also have a glass of wine or a salad, so everybody’s comfortable. “It’s actually informal and handy. That was one of many concepts in regards to the house and the reasoning behind the menu.”
Final week, Lau posted a photograph of a panna cotta topped with recent blueberries ($7). In particular person, it tasted pretty much as good because it seemed on-line—as did the chocolate mousse ($7). “I feel the neighborhood expects us to be only a take-out pizza home,” he stated. “However we put loads of effort into different issues, and I don’t assume individuals understand that.” Lau’s concept was that no matter State Flour makes has to fulfill a sure normal. “Hopefully, for those who just like the meals I’m placing out, you possibly can simply shut your eyes, level at one thing and also you’ll be comfortable.”
State Flour Pizza Firm, open Tues to Sat 5–9pm. 2985 Faculty Ave., Berkeley. instagram.com/stateflourpizza.
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