The North Beach pizza scene is already on fire, but now there’s going to be even more pizza for the people. From the fine folks that brought you pasta palaces Flour + Water and Penny Roma comes Flour + Water Pizzeria, opening June 28 and accepting reservations right now.
The massive, 4,000-square foot space, formerly Rose Pistola, will act as the flagship location for the pizzeria, where large amounts of dough will be made to feed hungry San Franciscans and then some: “It’s a hub-and-spoke model — the dough room ultimately goes back to having as much control in the dough as possible,” says co-executive chef and CEO Thomas McNaughton, who will use the glass-encased space as a production hub to supply future pizza shops.
But first, the newest jewel in the North Beach’s vibrant dining scene will open, and it’s already a hot reservation. Here’s everything you need to know before dining at Flour + Water Pizzeria:
1. Let’s talk about the pizza.
The pizza menu is divided into red pies and white pies, and are all sized at 13” and cut in six slices. Making the dough is a four-day process and utilizes a blend of two different types of flour from Central Milling in Petaluma, resulting in a pie that’s crispy on the bottom with a chewy crust. “We want it just as good inside the restaurant as in a to-go box,” says McNaughton. “There are key characteristics that we’re looking for: we want different bubbles, we want a lot of texture on the outside, we want an interior that has a bit of chew, we want a depth of flavor and an acidic tang.”
Each pie receives shaved aged mozzarella on the base, then a layer of sauce, then finished with fresh fior di latte — this layering is intentional: the sauce doesn’t sog into the pizza. Early favorites include a Hawaiian featuring capicola, pineapple, pickled fresno chiles, and chile crisp; and a cacio e pepe pizza interpretation, made with pecorino crema, fontina, garlic, and loads of freshly cracked black pepper. “It’s my favorite pasta. Period. That’s why it’s been on Penny Roma’s menu since day one,” says co-executive chef/VP/pizza master Ryan Pollnow, who created the pizza masterpiece (… masterpizza?).
2. Save space for starters and salads (and dessert).
There’s much more than just pizza on the menu that you’ll want to allocate space in your stomach for. There are vegetable-forward, seasonally changing starters and salads that make use of the Bay Area’s bounty, showcasing produce from the restaurant group’s favorite farmers. Right now, there’s a stone fruit fennel salad topped with ricotta salata, pistachio, and lemon oil, as well as an heirloom tomato dish topped with crunchy garlic breadcrumbs, creamy aioli, and fresh horseradish for a spicy kick. There’s also head-on shrimp scampi with loads of garlic, butter, lemon, and chile.
And fans of the original Flour + Water Pizzeria will be relieved to know that the world’s best mozzarella sticks have made their way back onto the menu.
Definitely save room for dessert, where creamy soft-serve ice cream featuring Double 8 Dairy comes in fior di latte, salted caramel, and swirl options with tons of toppings, from chocolate sauce to rainbow sprinkles to brown butter cereal crunch.
3. The drinks are fun, too.
There’s a full menu of beer, wine, and cocktails. The restaurant group’s resident beverage director Sam Bogue has created a concise list of mostly Italian offerings as well as some local wines from small production producers, like Chardonnay from Mendocino, care of Vina Minor.
But most excitedly, he partnered with natural winemaker Subject To Change Co. out of Richmond to create two very quaffable, very food friendly, very cleverly named blends: a white called Pasta Water and a chilled red called Pasta Sauce.
Bogue also worked with North Beach cocktail/mixologist extraordinaire Elmer Mejicanos to curate a cocktail menu that includes classics with a twist — a spicy margarita spiked with Calabrian chile, daiquiris with toasted sesame, and Negronis with a custom blend of gins on tap (!).
4. For takeout orders, check the Pizza Shop in the back.
While the main dining room entrance to the pizzeria will be on Columbus Avenue, there will be a back entrance on Stockton Street to a smaller Pizza Shop that will primarily be for to-go orders. It is here where you can also order the daily changing Big Slice, which features a half-pizza rolled up into a cone (just like Naples), stuffed with a generous amount of arugula so you can get your greens in. There will also be a slushy machine back there that will feature an ever-changing adult boozie slushie – think an aperitivo-like concoction with passion fruit and Prosecco. Perfect for a hot sunny day in North Beach.
NB: There will also be five tables with QR codes where you can order food from the main dining room to eat inside the Pizza Shop — and your orders will be given expedited service. You heard it here first, folks.
5. Three Bonus Resy Pro Tips
1. There’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game in the back of the Pizza Shop, bringing the best 1990s pizza nostalgia possible. (It takes quarters and credit cards.)
2. For your group dining/PDR needs, the dough room doubles as a private dining room for a pizza party for you and up to 14 of your besties.
3. For some off-menu hijinks, try combining a boozy slushie with a fior di latte soft serve for an extra special dessert.
Omar Mamoon is a San Francisco-based writer & cookie dough professional. Find him at @ommmar.