L.A.’s Prettiest New Restaurant is a Pizza Place
The blue-and-white design by Sara Story is the perfect backdrop for Neo-Neapolitan pies.
Published May 20, 2017 5:00 AM
After tackling baked goods, Sprinkles Cupcakes founder Candace Nelson and her husband and partner Charles have moved on to pizza. The Nelsons tapped wallpaper and interior designer Sara Story for the design of their new Pizzana restaurant in Brentwood as Story had designed three of their homes (including in Beverly Hills and Sun Valley), and they had a great rapport. The Nelsons also worked closely with ALM for architecture and brand identity and had Andrea Lenardin Madden leading their creative direction (they’d worked together on Sprinkles). The couple have also partnered with actor Chris O’Donnell and his wife Caroline on the savory project, inspired by their shared passion for pizza and fascination with the science behind baking. “Los Angeles does not have a tradition or reputation for good pizza,” confides Nelson. “NYC transplants are particularly vocal about this!”
Featuring Neo-Neapolitan pies from Naples-born master pizzaiolo Daniele Uditi, the restaurant will feature its signature “slow dough” with a blend of imported stone-ground Italian flours, creating a light crust. Light-as-air pies include the Amatriciana with housemade amatriciana sauce, fior di latte, crispy prosciutto crudo, red onion and shaved parmigiano, and the Corbarina with cherry tomatoes, zucchini blossoms, burrata, and gremolata. Candace brings her pastry expertise to Pizzana’s dessert menu with a Neapolitan ice cream terrine along and other sweet treats like a salted caramel panna cotta.
The focal point of the 45-seat California-meets-Italy restaurant is a ceramic blue-and-white-tile-patterned mural created by local artist Mark Hagen, which is reminiscent of Gio Ponti. “I am a huge Mark Hagen fan,” gushes Nelson. “I have to say that the mural wall…is very true to Mark’s practice and is my favorite element in the space.” Exposed beams and cobalt leather banquettes distinguish the narrow yet welcoming space, which is mostly blue and inspired by the Mediterranean Sea. “Blue is a surprising color for a pizzeria (everyone expects red!) but I find it very modern and fresh,” says Nelson.
Interior designer Story added furniture like a Dimore Studio chandelier, Kalmar Werkstatten pendant lights over the tables, Finn chairs, and Morph bar stools to round out the space. “We sought to juxtapose the elements like the texture of the wood, smoothness of marble, and the patina of the blackened metal,” says Story. “I love the blackened metal and brass components of the chandelier at the entrance—the scale of the light commands attention although the form is quite light and airy.” Just like the pizza itself.