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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Long Bridge Pizza Showdown: Chef vs. Fan Favorites

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Fan Favorite #1: The Loading Dock - BETTY WANG
  • Betty Wang
  • Fan Favorite #1: The Loading Dock

One of my favorite questions to ask a restaurateur these days starts off with having them talk about the fan favorites on the menu, which then prompts: "But, what's your favorite?"

More often than not, customers' favorites and the chef's picks won't be the same. This was the case at Long Bridge Pizzaco-owned by Neal DeNardi and his high school buddy (and fellow Bay Area local) Andrew Markoulis. His favorite pie on the menu, the Kalamata Olive and Garlic, is definitely not what patrons are popularly ordering. That would be the Loading Dock and the White Pie.

A few months shy of its second birthday, this Dogpatch gem is no-frills in a very San Francisco way. The space is small and minimalist, but modern and clean, and the menu features a simple selection of ten pies, all created by Neal and Andrew. Here's a breakdown of two fan favorites vs. one chef favorite.

click image Chefs and owners Neal DeNardi and Andrew Markoulis - KIM GOMES (EATER.COM)
  • Kim Gomes (
  • Chefs and owners Neal DeNardi and Andrew Markoulis

Fan Favorite #1: The Loading Dock (pictured above)

The Loading Dock is one of the most popular pizzas at Long Bridge — and understandably so, when you scour the list of toppings: mozzarella, tomato sauce, soppressata, sausage, mushroom, garlic, and thyme. It's a savory, meaty pie.

Caveat: The star of Long Bridge's show is the incredibly solid crust that they make in-house. However, it may just be slightly overpowered by all the heavy-hitting (and delicious) toppings.

click to enlarge Fan Favorite #2: The White Pizza - BETTY WANG
  • Betty Wang
  • Fan Favorite #2: The White Pizza

Fan Favorite #2: White Pizza

The white pie here is notable, and if you're on the fence about whether you should tack this onto your usual order, just do it. There will be no regrets. Unlike the usual white pies at other pizzerias, there's no unnecessary layer of alfredo-like sauce. Instead, Long Bridge's version comes with garlic and olive oil brushed onto the crust, which is topped with mozzarella, creamy globs of ricotta, and dark and leafy spinach that's finished off to a nice and bright crisp in the oven. It's addictingly tasty while managing to be light.

Caveat: It's arguably not for purists because of the lack of red sauce. But, drop those expectations and have a tasty slice. (You're welcome.) 

click to enlarge Chef's Favorite: The Kalamata Olive & Garlic - BETTY WANG
  • Betty Wang
  • Chef's Favorite: The Kalamata Olive & Garlic

Chef's Favorite: The Kalamata Olive & Garlic

Curiously, the chef's favorite is both an uncommon menu item at a pizzeria and a classic at the same time. This pizza is simple — you take Long Bridge's delicious, chewy dough, top it with a robust red sauce, and then add garlic and chopped kalamata olives to it and then top that off with a sprinkling of parmesan for a stripped down pizza that still manages to be uniquely tasty. Long Bridge's dough is made with a sourdough starter, which approximates a tasty loaf of bread fresh out of the oven. The simple toppings are a great vessel for delivering that tasty crust. You might not even miss the usual mozzarella. The dough is that good.

"I think it's one of our purest pizzas. Mozzarella is great, don't get me wrong, but this is my favorite pizza — that's why it's on the menu," DeNardi said. 

Caveat: No cheese, as mentioned. Also, this is a must for olive lovers but for those who tend to pick these out of their dishes ... you won't love this.

Bottom Line

Long Bridge makes a mean dough, and whatever pizza you order is really going to depend on your personal preferences. (It's also worth noting that the duo source produce from their own garden in Redwood City, which often dictates the specials. Recently, it was a kale pie.) Either way, you're probably not going to go wrong regardless of what you end up with, so everyone wins.

Long Bridge Pizza, 2347 3rd St, 415-829-8999.

Betty Wang is an SF-based glutton, writer, and editor. She also tweets 
@bettywrites and Instagrams @bettyishungry.

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