LA Pizza Institution, Pitfire Pizza, Expands into San Diego County

Community-focused neighborhood pizzeria opens in Carlsbad and beyond
Beloved LA Pizza Institution, Pitfire Pizza, Expands into San Diego County
Photo: Official

James Beard award-nominated LA pizza joint, Pitfire Pizza, known across Los Angeles and Orange Counties for its pies, made its debut in San Diego in October. Originating in North Hollywood in 1997, Pitfire Pizza has grown with its flagship restaurant still thriving as a pillar of its NoHo community. Now, the restaurant is set to join the culinary roster at Carlsbad’s The Beacon La Costa alongside other well-known brands including Shake Shack, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Sweetgreen, and LOLA 55.

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Pitfire Pizza is one of the concepts developed by LA-based American Gonzo Food Corp., the culinary creative group behind some of LA’s most successful restaurants including Superba Food + Bread, Superba Snacks + Coffee, The Win~Dow and Venice steakhouse, American Beauty. American Gonzo has confirmed plans to introduce multiple concepts from its portfolio to San Diego County over the next several years.

“Opening a restaurant here means many things to American Gonzo; we are growing the company and there are new opportunities for our managers and staff. But above all else, our ambition is to open restaurants that are important to a community, “ says Jeff Goodman, CEO of American Gonzo Food Corporation in a statement. “We’ve met some incredible people and families in Carlsbad, and we are excited to bring our brand of pizza to the neighborhood. Personally, I lived in San Diego on and off for almost ten years, so this is sort of a homecoming for me to what I believe is one of the finest cities in the United States.”

Founded by Paul Hibler with the motto “Food, Art and Community,” the 9th location of this family-friendly pizzaria features a wide-ranging, seasonally updated menu of pizza parlor classics and farmer’s market favorites, priced for everyday dining. The Carlsbad menu is anchored by 12 core pies, all of which begin with Pitfire Pizza’s one-of-a-kind, slow-rise fermented sourdough pizza crust. Baked and charred in a Marra Forni oven, Pitfire’s California-style pizzas are known for their quality and custom ingredients like house made vegan cheese and cauliflower crusts to please all, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

Fresh pastas, shares and smalls, salads, and desserts — including ice cream from Strauss Family Creamery — round out the chef-driven menu.

Menu highlights include:

Shares & Smalls:

Pizzas:

● BONELESS CHICKEN WINGS – Boneless thighs made either buffalo style with Frank’s Red
Hot Sauce or with a garlic ginger sauce
● ROASTED CHICKEN MEATBALLS – Served with Superba bread or do a Meatball Level Up
and add whipped ricotta, EVOO, and a half loaf of rustic boule

● FIELD MUSHROOM – A veggie pizza featuring roasted garlic puree, whipped cream and shredded fontina cheese, roasted cremini mushrooms, and enoki mushrooms
● HONEY BEAR – Fresh ricotta, mozzarella, and provolone cheeses meet housemade fennel sausage and Calabrian chiles, with toppings of honey, Maldon salt, and bee pollen
● EPIC. BBQ. CHICKEN. – Slow-cooked stew of chicken, BBQ and cheese

Salads:

● SHAVED KALE– Black Tuscan kale with mint, pickled raisins, toasted almonds and a Champagne vinaigrette
● THE STEAK SALAD – Sliced steak over romaine and arugula with candied walnuts, bleu cheese, grilled red onions and a shallot vinaigrette

Pasta:

● CHICKEN & MUSHROOM CAVATAPPI – Fresh cavatappi pasta with cremini mushrooms, chicken, garlic puree, crème fraiche and grated parmesan cheese
● LINGUINI BOLOGNESE – Spinach linguini with slow-cooked bolognese and grated parmesan cheese

Veggies + Vegan:

● VEGAN MARGHERITA – A classic made vegan with cashew cheese and a cauliflower crust
● VEGAN CAESAR – A vegan version with Little Gem lettuce and toasted breadcrumbs with a dairy, egg and fish-free Caesar dressing
● FARMER’S MARKET PLATE – A choice of three of Pitfire’s charred/roasted/grilled veggies and/or salads including Roasted Acorn Squash with hot honey and Maldon salt, and Roasted Cauliflower with mint and chili flakes

An island bar with 20 seats provides the ideal spot for adult conversation and features a full bar program with local craft beer and cider favorites available on tap and in cans, a wine program featuring small production, food friendly wines , and specialty cocktails including Pitfire’s craft slushies like the Negroni Freezoni (gin, sweet vermouth, Campari) and the I’m Your Huckleberry (blueberry bourbon, blackberry, ginger).

Pitfire Pizza has its roots in the arts and design scene of Southern California thanks to Hibler and his creative interests and affinities. Each Pitfire Pizza location has unique design features chosen with its surrounding neighborhoods in mind. Carlsbad’s 3,500 square foot dining room provides both plush leather booths and pizza parlor tables for large groups and date nights alike, as well as a 400 square foot patio space. Guests will have a sightline into the kitchen where the Marra Forni pizza oven will be working its magic. Playful pizza artwork by muralist KC Woolf Haxton brings to life a lively space created by the Hopson Rodstrom Design team.

Pitfire Pizza officially opened its doors for dine-in lunch and dinner service on Wednesday, November 1st. Delivery and to-go options are available. Pitfire Pizza Carlsbad is located at 7720 El Camino Real, Suite A, Carlsbad, CA 92009 in The Beacon La Costa shopping center.

Lisa Hay

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.
Lisa Hay

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.

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