The Pearl District is getting a new spot for deep-dish pizza. The Star, an Oakland-based pizzeria specializing in cornmeal-based crusts, will bring its New York and Chicago-style pies to Northwest June 1.
The Star’s claim to fame is a cornmeal-based crust, the foundation of both its deep-dish and thin-crust pies. Similar to Dove Vivi’s on NE Glisan, the cornmeal crust is “a little crunchier” than the traditional pastry crust of deep-dish pies. “It adds a little nuttiness to it, it’s a little butterier, but it doesn’t get soggy like other pastry crusts might,” co-owner Ben Seabury says. The restaurant loads that crust with everything from pork sausage made in-house to whole milk mozzarella purchased directly from producers. Pies often come with local produce or house-made toppings, from its All-Star pie with meatballs, sausage, bacon, and mozzarella to the Vegetarian with roasted zucchini, mushrooms, Kalamata olives, onions, red bell peppers, and fresh garlic.
Beyond pizzas, The Star also offers a number of appetizers and salads, including “Bonanza Bread,” a cheesy pull-apart monkey bread with a respectable, vampire-killing amount of garlic, as well as baked wings made with Mary’s free-range chicken.
The bar isn’t playing around, either: With a 500-bottle backbar, The Star will serve cocktails like paper airplanes, made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, aperol, lemon, and amaro nonino, as well as an agave-based cocktail perked up with bertina elderflower. Seabury is particularly excited about the restaurant’s extensive tap wine list, focused on Oregon pinot noir as well as Californian and Italian wines.
The Star started with pizzeria Little Star, which has a good reputation in San Francisco — Eater San Francisco describes Little Star pizza as “oozy, buttery deep-dish pies” that are “a distinctly California creation — and a drop-dead delicious one at that.” The original owners went through a “business divorce,” in Seabury’s words, so co-owner Jon Guhl and Seabury opened The Star with the original recipes from the pizzeria. The Star didn’t lose its shine, however; The Star on Grand remains one of Eater SF’s essential pizzas of the East Bay. In editor Ellen Fort’s words, “These rich pies mean business.”
The restaurant — a 150-seat space — will open on 1309 NW Hoyt in the former Paragon location, which closed in December.