After our Pizza on Pearl review, the name was changed to Mr. Moto Pizza House. It appears that ownership remains the same. There are several other Mr. Moto pizza places in San Diego we have visited. We plan to do a few more visits and write a full review and update. I will say we thought Pizza on Pearl was better than Mr. Moto. However, we admit we have not tried out Mr. Moto Pizza House as many times as we would like for a full analysis.
Definitely check out our Mr. Moto Pizza House review. We are keeping our original Pizza on Pearl review below, but I think overall there has been more than a name change. The issue I have with Mr. Moto is the fluffy crust at the edge of the pizza. I simply do not remember that being an issue with Pizza on Pearl.
The change of name took place in late 2018. According to this article, it was simply a name change. However, the recipe may have been changed as well. The price for 2 slices and a soda definitely increased, from $7.50 to $9. In addition, our favorite “Lunch atop a Skyscraper” pictures were gone (the statute had been moved but was still there). It should be noted that, according to the above article, Pizza on Pearl was originally a spinoff from Bongiorno’s in Solano Beach. It was sold several times before landing in the hands of the Mr. Moto founder. I can imagine the recipe being tweaked in the process.
Overall, Mr. Moto Pizza House makes a solid NY-style pizza. However, while Pizza on Pearl was a contender for top 10 NY-style pizza places in San Diego, Mr. Moto is at the lower end of the top 20. We are keeping our original review and would love to hear from people that have visited both Pizza on Pearl and Mr. Moto Pizza House.
NOTE: The below article was published on May 18, 2018. The name of Pizza on Pearl was changed to Mr. Moto Pizza House in November 2018. Ownership remained the same.
NEW WEBSITE: https://mrmotopizza.com
Downtown La Jolla Village seems like a strange place to find a quality NY-style thin crust pizza slice joint. This is an area of fancy restaurants and the birthplace of West Coast pizza pioneer Sammy’s California Woodfired Pizza. However, across the street from Sammy’s there is a true gem in the modest Pizza on Pearl. In Fun Diego Family’s quest for the best pizza in San Diego this is our Pizza on Pearl review.
Pizza on Pearl falls squarely in the NY-style thin crust of our pizza taxonomy. Our family eats this style more than any other because 2 slices and a soda or salad make a great, quick lunch. Pizza on Pearl is in an expensive neighborhood, right by Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealers. However, their prices are right in line with the competition. 2 slices and a soda are $7.50 and a slice, salad and soda is $8.50. 3 slices and a soda are $9.50.
Like many great NY pizza places, Pizza on Pearl is fairly small, with just a few tables. There are a few parking spaces out front, but most parking will be found in the side streets. Right next door is the extremely popular Taco Stand. In the past two years, we have been going to Pizza on Pearl more often than normal because the Taco Stand is too crowded.
Luckily no one complains about switching from tacos to pizza when it comes to Pizza on Pearl. There are all kinds of pizzas to choose from, as many as 16. One thing I really like is for $21 you can make a slice pie which consists of 8 different slices of your choice. This is great when you have 3 or 4 people.
Like many NY style places, Pizza on Pearl has a version of white pizza which replaces the red sauce with a garlic paste. They also do the popular BBQ and buffalo chicken pizzas. Their most bizarre pizza has pears! Of course, they also have just about every standard topping you can think of.
Delivery and take-out are available for whole pies. Whole pies start at $17 for an 18 inch. Specialty pizzas go for $20 to $23. Unlike many NY pizza places, Pizza on Pearl also offers a smaller 15” pizza starting at $15. There is even a gluten-free crust.
I admit we have only ordered slices at Pizza on Pearl. We don’t live in the neighborhood and when we go here for a sit-down meal we tend to go around the corner to Carino’s. I will be doing a separate review of Carino’s but will say this, it is more expensive than Pizza on Pearl and much more of a hole in the wall. However, I have been going to Carino’s since 1991 and it is Erin’s favorite pizza in the world!
If I was a tourist or resident in La Jolla, Pizza on Pearl would be my definite go to for regular pizza delivery. They also offer stromboli, calzones, meatballs, and salads, but this is mainly a pizza place. My son loves the garlic knots and I indulge him because they are only $2.
Pizza on Pearl is very similar in feel to Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest and Bongiorno’s in Solano Beach. The interior especially looks like Bongiorno’s. One thing we really like is the various versions of the famous photo “Lunch atop a Skyscraper.” This 1932 photo shows 11 workers sitting on a construction beam eating lunch high above NYC. Pizza on Pearl has several versions of this photo but with the workers eating pizza.
Overall Pizza on Pearl is definitely a top contender in Fun Diego Family’s search for the best NY-style pizza in San Diego. This is a classic East Coast style joint located in a great neighborhood for both San Diego tourists and residents alike. If you go on our Downtown La Jolla Village walk, Pizza on Pearl is a great place to grab a bit at either the start or end of your walk. To see our other contenders, go here.