When Anthony Mangieri finally closed the doors on his Una Pizza Napoletana this week in New York’s East Village, the New York Times covered the story. How many pizzerias get that kind of attention?
It’s probably fair to say that Mangieri’s pizzeria was unique in America. A purist, he made only four different Neapolitan pizzas, using only the traditional ingredients for his crust and simple toppings. No pepperoni here, just San Marzano tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes on one version), fresh mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and olive oil. The place was small, and he refused to add even salads to his menu. No wine cellar (except for a fizzy red he likes with his pies). Just pizza.
The bad news for New York pizza fanatics is good news for us on the West Coast. When I phoned him, Mangieri told me he was coming out to San Francisco to see if he could put something together. Having sold the place (but not the name) to Motorino, by all accounts among New York’s best pizzerias, he has some options.
Anthony Mangieri, seen here at his recently shuttered New York restaurant, Una Pizza Napoletana.
“I’ve always wanted to live out there,” he said. “I’ve been saying that for years, but I’ve been scared to leave all my friends and family here.”
His immediate plans are to take some time off, travel to Europe, and “get on my bike and get some exercise, which is something I can’t do as much as I would like here.” Mangieri likes to ride in the mountains, and there are plenty of those near San Francisco.
He’s had other chances to move to California before. But, he says, “I’ve always chickened out at the last minute. I figure if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it.”
As a San Franciscan and pizza lover, I can’t wait to see Mangieri in my town. Recently the Chronicle’s restaurant critic named his favorite pizzerias, and the top of his list was Gialina, in my neighborhood. I love Gialina. Owner Sharon Ardiana does an amazing job with beautiful ingredients and a steel oven. The closest things in San Francisco to Mangieri’s wood-oven purism are A16 (which makes traditional pizzas as part of a larger restaurant) and Pizzaiolo in Oakland (which plays with toppings but does the wood oven thing nicely).
It will be exciting to see how my fellow San Franciscans take to Mangieri’s no-nonsense style.
“I would have to add salads to the menu in California,” he said, “but I don’t know if I would go much beyond that.” Gee, Anthony, how about a little wine cellar?
Jonathan Hirsch — Stanford, CA — July 22, 2009 9:49pm ET
Apj Powers — Dallas, TX — July 23, 2009 2:26am ET
Farhana Haque — Queens, NY — July 23, 2009 7:36pm ET
Eli Curi — New York — July 23, 2009 8:43pm ET
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