Berkeley California is of course the home to Chicago Deep Dish style pizza. Well, that is not really true, but it is home to Zachary’s Pizza. Zachary’s helped establish Chicago style pizza on the West Coast since it opened in 1983. Berkeley Pizza was inspired by Zachary’s to bring this style of pizza to San Diego.
Berkeley Pizza originally operated as a delivery only service before opening a downtown restaurant circa 2010. They also sell their pizzas at the Little Italy Farmer’s Market on Saturday. We have gone to the downtown location several times and regularly pick up pies at the Farmer’s Market.
In 2014 Berkeley Pizza opened a second location in North Park. This has become our new go-to spot. What we like to do is order a pizza half-baked, pick it up in the morning or afternoon, put it in the fridge and heat it up right before dinner.
When we eat in at Berkeley Pizza we get slices. A challenge with Chicago pizza is it takes as much as an hour to cook so you have to plan ahead to order a whole pie. Berkeley serves slices for $4.25 each. 2 slices and a soda are $10.50 or $13.50 with a beer.
Both locations have a large selection of beers on tap. From 12 to 7 everyday they offer a great happy hour where you buy a beer you get a slice for $2. With this type of pizza one slice is usually enough for me.
Whole pies come in three sizes, 10-inch, 12-inch and 14-inch. They are respectively priced at $15.45, $19.65 and $21.95 for cheese. Toppings are $1.50 each. This is actually a bargain. I find a 14-inch can serve, possibly 6 people.
Among Chicago style pizzas, Berkeley Pizza has a unique taste It is heavy on the chunky tomato sauce and fairly light on the cheese. The signature pizza is the spinach and mushroom ($24.50 for a large) inspired by the one at Zachary’s. My favorite is the sausage pizza.
Berkeley Pizza in my mind makes a sophisticated pizza. Friends and family that love tomatoes tend to love Berkeley. I find kids are not quite as fond of this style. When we order from Berkeley we tend to get another pizza for the kids.
Deep-dish Chicago style is about all they have at Berkeley Pizza. It is located in downtown and North Park areas of San Diego because these are hipper areas with few kids. Sadly this pizza would probably not fly in our neighborhood. However, the fact that I regularly make the out of way drive for this pizza says something.
Berkeley focuses on one thing and does it well. One nice touch is how they place a mushroom in the center of the spinach/mushroom pie and a single sausage slice on top of the sausage pie. The ingredients are buried under the sauce so this is a great way to tell them apart.
I have learned that there are quite a few styles of Chicago deep-dish. Each will appeal to a different audience. In my case, I am an experimenter and like to mix things up. Berkeley Pizza is my go-to when I get a craving for a strong tomato-based pizza. When I want a more cheesy pizza I am likely to hit up Chicago Bros in Mission Valley.
To see more places in the Fun Diego Family quest for best pizza in San Diego go here.