Award-winning pizzaiolo and executive chef Glenn Cybulski along with chef, founder and president Joseph Baumel have opened Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria at 905 State Street in Santa Barbara, formerly The Taj Café. Baumel tells me that their Neapolitan style (thin crust) pizza takes only about a minute to bake using ovens that are 300 degrees hotter than most eateries use. “We are in the fast-casual segment of the industry,” Baumel says. “It is a create-your-own authentic Neapolitan pizzeria.”
Everybody gets a 12-inch pizza. The eatery offers 4 proprietary specialty pizzas along with a “pizza bar” where each customer can choose from a variety of fresh ingredients. They roll-out dough fresh in front of the guest so every pizza is essentially made to order. Then the guest has the opportunity to select one of their home-made sauces, cheeses, and proteins toppings (3 of which are made in house). The restaurant offers gelato made by an Austrian-born, Milano-trained gelato chef in Los Angeles and a fresh salad station where all the dressings are made from scratch.
“All of our ingredients are fresh,” Cybulski tells me. “The meatball and sauce recipes have won double gold medals. The Chipotle Chicken specialty pizza, in 2007, won the ‘Best Pizza in North America’ at the world pizza championship.” While visiting the new restaurant chef Cybulski made me a 12-inch Margherita Pizza which costs just $6.95. I made a short video of the entire pizza-making process that can be viewed above.
Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria opens at 11 a.m. daily. The eatery closes at 10 – 11 p.m. Sunday –Wednesday and past midnight Thursday – Saturday. For more information call 899-4999 or visit personapizzeria.com.