Even if you’ve had your favorite pizza place on speed dial since low-rise jeans were in, there’s nothing wrong with branching out and trying a new one - especially when there are so many excellent new pizza spots that have opened up over the past year or so. If you want a new one to support, here are four of our favorites in Oakland and Berkeley.
Square Pie Guys
Our favorite SF spot for Detroit-style pizza just opened its first location in the East Bay. You can find their crispy, cheesy square pizzas in Old Oakland, where they’re serving the same menu as their original location in SoMa. You can get your pies topped with everything from pepperoni to bacon and tomatoes to a mushroom medley - just be sure to get their trio of excellent dipping sauces (ranch, cilantro crema, and their special SPG sauce) on the side. If you’re still hungry, you can also order hot chicken sandwiches from Square Pie Guys’ virtual restaurant, Hetchy’s Hots.
In the midst of everything, Grand Lake Kitchen, the popular Oakland brunch spot, launched a takeout pizza concept called Carbona. They operate out of GLK’s Dimond District location, and specialize in Detroit-style pies, which are, for lack of a better phrase, works of art. So what makes their pizzas stunning? For starters, they’re fluffy and thick, like sheet cake thick or brick thick (in the best way possible), and have chewy crusts with crispy, darkened edges. The pizzas are then covered in marinara sauce and cheese, before getting finished with a range of topping combinations (there are 11 pizzas on the menu). When in doubt, order the pepperoni, which, like all of their pies, is surprisingly fluffy and light despite it looking hefty.
The North Oakland pizza recently reopened in their newer, bigger space just up the street from their original location, so technically they aren’t “new.” But they still make damn good thin-crust sourdough pies, and they also expanded their offerings. Case in point: you can now get the pies in two different sizes (12 and 16 inches) and build your own with toppings like home-made pork sausage and pickled cherry peppers. Other welcomed surprises that keep us coming back: Nick’s expanded their house-made bread offerings, and also joined in on the great Bay Area Sandwich Pivot - they’re now making veggie, prosciutto, mortadella, and other deli sandwiches from 11am-4pm.
June’s Pizza in West Oakland opened last March, so it’s new-ish - but we’re including them on this list because their massive wood-fired pizzas are some of the best we’ve had. Ever. They make 60 pies a day and take orders via phone only, so you have to be persistent - it can be hard to get your call through at first. There’s always a margherita and a biweekly-changing special (toppings range from meatball to persimmon, ricotta, and fattoria). And the crust - chewy, golden-brown, and satisfyingly crispy - is always dusted with a blanket of freshly-shaved parmesan. Phone orders for whole pies start at 1pm from Wednesday to Sunday, but if you’d rather avoid the calling altogether and walk up for a slice, you’re in luck - they just started serving slices from 11:30am-1pm.