NEW PIZZERIA COMING TO DOWNTOWN

Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria is coming to 905 State St., the former home of The Taj Cafe. The restaurant is owned by Pull’d BBQ, LLC and will offer Neapolitan wood-fired pizza where customers can choose their own toppings then have their pizza cooked in under two minutes. Thanks to reader Matt for the tip!

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22 Responses to NEW PIZZERIA COMING TO DOWNTOWN

  1. SL says:

    This seems to be a new trend. Think of as Chiptole, but pizza. The results are mixed. The pizza at these types of places is not bad, but also not on par with true Neaoplitan pizzerias. The toppings are of high quality and the pizza overall is a big step above Rusty’s and the other hot circles of garbage you typically see in SB. Neapolitian pizza is a true craft and the pie man must have an intimate relationship with the oven as well as the dough behavior to produce the quality mind blowing pizza experience that you get at places such as Motorino in NYC or Sotto in LA. I look forward to checking this place out, but still can’t believe SB still doesn’t have a quality pizza joint. Olio Pizza is a total joke so don’t bother mentioning that as a higher end pizza option. The only higher end pizza worth eating in the county is up at Full of Life in Los Alamos, but the drive is a bit too far to make it a regular thing…sigh…

    • Ben says:

      I don’t think I want to eat a pizza after “the pie man” has had “an intimate relationship with the oven as well as the dough…” Can’t you be fined for that?
      .
      Seriously though, I don’t get blasting new, one-of-a kind restaurants before they even start construction. It’s not a chain, what is the basis for comparing it to Chipotle?
      .
      These guys are intending to bring real, Neapolitan wood-fired pizza to the 900 block of State and SL doesn’t indicate any basis at all for assuming it will be anything short of spectacular.
      .
      I enjoy Olio pizza, but it’s not wood-fired, and the Olio knock-off that CaDario is opening won’t be wood-fired, either. I took a look into CaDario pizza before Labor Day when they had all the paper off the windows and I could not believe the tiny gas pizza oven, it looks like it could be a home model. I guess it is such a small space that is all they could do.
      .
      But now we’re going to get REAL wood fired pizza just two blocks down State from these two “artisan” pizzerias. Best of luck to Persona Neapolitan, may you surprise SL and save him or her a few trips to Los Alamos.

      • Lily says:

        I think he’s comparing it to Chipotle because you get a blank canvas, in this case pizza dough, choose whatever topping you want, and it gets assembled and cooked in front of you. A real Neapolitan pizza only takes 60 sec of cooking time, so the oven temperature is critical in making a pie with perfect amount of leopard spotting and soft pillowy crust.

        • Elizabeth says:

          Lily, I agree w/ you. And I see SL’s point between pie man, oven and dough. With good Neapolitan pizza, the pie maker must understand every nuance involved re: type of flour, water quality, yeast/starter, fermentation, hydration, temperature control, and humidity. Timing is key!

        • SL says:

          You are correct. I don’t think Ben realizes the place that is opening up is an assembly line style Neapolitan pizza joint hence the comparison to Chiptole. You go through a line an employee tops the dough as you see fit, fires it in the oven and then you pay and head to your table a al Chipotle. This is not a new or one of a kind place, just the first in SB and there is nothing wrong with that. They are not trying to be in the same league as Motorino or other joints of that caliber, they are trying to bring high quality, quick service pizza to the masses and that is an honorable thing. If you’ve worked with a wood fired oven you realize that it takes a significant time to achieve amazing results, sure you get lots of eatable ones but true mind blowing awesomeness takes establishing a relationship with the oven and the dough. Assembly line style pizza just doesn’t reach that perfection, but is still good. Also notable is the price is much less.

          My gripe in my original post has nothing to do with this new place but with how the higher end pizza scene in SB thus far is a total joke. I imagine if some of the people on here getting all worked up over my rant actually tried legit Neapolitian pizza or something along the lines of Mozza in LA they would understand what I’m talking about. SB is ripe for a place of this caliber.

          • Ben says:

            SL clearly knows much more about the planned Persona Neapolitan than was clear from the first post. I hadn’t seen any reporting indicating it would be a cafeteria style lineup, and the name appears to be unique. Assuming as SL states it will be “an assembly line style Neapolitan pizza joint” then my optimism is greatly tempered. Still hoping . . . just the fact that it will be real, wood-fired pizza, unlike both Olio and Cadario, will have me at Persona Neapolitan on opening night.
            .
            Regarding Mozza, the friends who brought me there worship it like SL and so many others, but to me, it’s doughy, pastry-like–I’m in Orange County much more often than L.A. and to me, Ortica is superior.

          • Lily says:

            I used to live in DC and I think this place had the best Neapolitan pizza in DMV. http://www.pupatella.com/_/home/home.html Its an assembly style pizzeria. As you already mentioned, the key is the guy who make the pizza. In the case of Pupatella, the pizza guy was trained in Naples and most of the ingredients they used including the oven were imported from Naples.

          • SL says:

            I wouldn’t say I worship Mozza but do think they put out a great pie. In my experience I’ve never had anything “doughy” or “pastry like.” If anything it’s a bit bready which makes sense as its Silverton’s place. I understand how its not for everyone, but it still surpasses anything in SB. Agreed Ortica is awesome! Another place worth checking out is Sotto, it’s not totally traditional Neoploitan, but it is great.

      • WM says:

        Classic….knock SL for blasting a restaurant before it even opens and before he’s had a chance to try it……then turn around and blast Ca’Dario’s new pizzeria before its opened and before you’ve had a chance to try it. I’d suggest you take your own advice to heart. Personally I think Ca’Dario is the best restaurant in town. Given they clearly know how to make good italian food, I’m excited to see what they can do with Pizza.

        I hope both of these places succeed.

        • SL says:

          Ca’Dario USED to be one of the greatest restaurants in town. Lately it’s been lackluster and operating on auto-pilot. It’s a shame as it is one of SB’s gems.

        • Ben says:

          It’s one thing to “blast” a place that hasn’t even started construction, another to express pessimism based on something I saw with my own eyes. Although I am a regular at Olio, I have enjoyed Cadario and I had high hopes for Cadario’s new place a block away. Then I saw the toaster oven . . .
          .
          Seriously, if anyone knows of a place making quality pizza with a toy like that let me know. It would fit nicely in my home kitchen.
          .
          My disapointment may turn out to be unwarranted, but it was based on that factual observation. I don’ t understand why someone would build an artisanal pizzeria from scratch, claim to be authentic, and then install an oven like that rather than the real thing: Where’s the Wood?
          .
          Regarding the existing Cadario, it’s a fine restaurant but we’ll have to agree to disagree:it’s not the best restaurant in town nor even the best Italian. The food and and sometimes the service, have been inconsistent lately, and for me, it takes a lot to overcome the ridiculously tiny, overcrowded seating (always), and the noise (usually). So you’re more likely to find us relaxing at our usual table at Olio and less frequently squeezing into Cadario.
          .
          Anyway, here’s hoping I’m proven wrong about the importance of a decent oven and a real wood fire, it would be nice to have an additional option.

          Meanwhile, I have higher hopes for Persona Neapolitan wood-fired, and much higher hopes for Goodland’s wood-fired next month!

    • CR says:

      What about the pizzas at Belle Vista, at the Biltmore. They are stone cooked and come out pretty darn good

    • Glenn says:

      Sono Affamato SL!

  2. Fay says:

    Now I am completely craving a good pizza, and here in old town Goleta there isn’t even a place to get a bad pizza for lunch – DANG!

  3. Charlotte says:

    Just got back in town from Vegas. Had a spectacular wood fired pizza at Wolfgang Puck’s Cafe. Perfect crust, interesting toppings and not at all expensive….wish he’d open here in S.B. I must also add…with the $$ I saved at Wolfies I blew at Joel Robichon’s place! Lord have mercy on my soul….that was the meal of a lifetime.

    • Lance says:

      I was in Las Vegas too and visited an amazing restaurant like the one described here called Custom Built Pizza. It’s wood fired, cooked in abut 2 min and I had it my way. Apparently the buzz is all over Las Vegas now. I hear they are looking to expand in Las Vegas and licensees are buying it for LA and Portland.

  4. Glenn says:

    Last time I was at Gelson’s they had some sort of oven associated with Wolfgang Puck where they would cook I think the Puck pizza they had there for you, looked kinda wood but I’m guessing it was gas from previous city restriction comments.

  5. pizzaioli says:

    Its great to read all the posts about the new Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria coming to SB “we” are very excited to bring authentic Napoli Pizza to SB and according to what was posted you all sound very educated in what a real pizza should be! we will be using only the finest imported flour, imported San Marzano tomato’s, imported mozzarella di bufala and of course all the local fresh ingredients SB has to offer. “apprezziamo l’entusiasmo che è vorticoso intorno a Santa Barbara e non vedo l’ora di servirti premiato pizza napoletana!”

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