The Berkeley Pizza Culture

The city of Berkeley is host to over 30 pizza places. These restaurants include sit-down places and grab-and-go places. The décor varies from sleek and modern, to a more grungy hole-in-the-wall atmosphere.

The neighborhood pizza places each feel that they’ve done something unique. The older restaurants are well established and popular with the local crowd. Restaurants like La Val’s Pizza, Cheese Board, Zachary’s and Fat Slice Pizza each contribute to the distinct Californian style of pizza. Cheese Board used their fresh vegetable ingredients to bring something new to the table. Others followed suit, trying to infuse the local eateries with something new.

Those in the area know that many of the pizza restaurants are centered on Telegraph Avenue. The area has a good amount of pedestrian traffic. There locals can find restaurants like Blondie’s Pizza, Fat Slice, Pieology, Seniore’s Pizza and Artichoke Basille’s. All the shops are competing for the student population the frequents the area.

Many shops chose their location specifically because of their proximity to the school. Others prefer to think of themselves as a destination spot, knowing their atmosphere and their food will be the draw.

One interesting component to the Berkeley culture is evidenced by the cooperative style of ownership displayed by Zachary’s and Cheese Board. Their style of ownership allows each employee to have a share in the company. This format allows their employees to have stable careers and results in great employee retention.

While each of the restaurants may strive to be original, there are of course similarities. There is a local myth that Fat Slice and Blondie’s are owned by the same company, but they are not. BUILD and Pieology both offer build-your-own pizza experiences – where BUILD has add-on charges, but Pieology has a flat rate. The presence of so many restaurants gives customers a variety of choices.

Berkeley is known as a foodie culture with food playing a major part in the culture of the area. Their pizza scene is no exception.


Posted on May 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM