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Friday, April 24, 2015

Tony Gemignani's Slice House Hits It Out of the Park

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge The Grandma - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • The Grandma

Tony Gemignani
is an 11-time World Pizza Champion who sits atop an empire that runs from North Beach to AT&T Park to Rohnert Park to Castro Valley to Vegas [note: Gemignani got his start in Castro Valley, but does not currently own any restaurants there]. One time, he almost got into a physical fight with Francis Ford Coppola over the way pizzaiolos in Naples toss their dough. While there are Slice House stands dotted throughout the baseball stadium, the two-floor pizzeria Gemignani opened this week in the former Ironside is a welcome addition for non-ticket-holders. They've knocked it out the park, literally.

click to enlarge Tomato Pie - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Tomato Pie

The menu is surprisingly vast, ranging from breakfast items such as croissants and oatmeal to elaborate 13-inch “ancient grain” pizzas like the Food Network’s Gold Medal winner, Cal Italia (a complex white pie with no sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola, sweet fig preserve, prosciutto di Parma, parmigiano-reggiano, and a balsamic reduction), all for $22.

For lunch, I went with a couple of slices. What I loved most about the Grandma ($6) was the way the cheese and the crust both managed to be baked to the exact same point of crispiness without either one burning. The tomato pie ($5.50), which is typically served at room temp (although Slice House will happily heat it), was much, much better than the focaccia-esque kind you might eat in Utica, New York, where it’s the most famous local dish. The cheese-over-sauce-over-cheese approach (with shredded basil like strips of confetti) works even better here than on the Grandma, because the dough is so pillowy that you notice the layering all the more. If a six-dollar slice of pizza sounds a bit steep, it’s worth it on the merits (plus everything in South Beach costs more than in the rest of the city, from apex predator Saison on down).

Even though Slice House will pare the menu down to basics on game days, I can only imagine that the lines will be unbelievable. As it is, I waited 20 minutes (although the pizza came out promptly), so if your lunch hour is a crunch hour, it might be a good idea to skip this one until the opening euphoria dies down a bit. It’s also loud enough in there that conversations inevitably ratchet upwards in volume, so expect to overhear a lot of mind-numbing remarks about user experiences and things that are in beta. At least Slice House kept Ironside’s wonderfully weird Lucky Lager ad with the waterskiing butler.

Slice House by Tony Gemignani, 680 Second St., 872-9680.
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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Bio:
Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.

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