In hopes of promoting local pizza shops, the Downtown Berkeley Association, or DBA, has dubbed the month of February “Pizza Lovers Month” for Downtown Berkeley.
The DBA is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting and marketing Downtown Berkeley on behalf of merchants, property owners and residents, DBA Director of Marketing and Vitality Matthew Jervis noted.
“The ultimate goal of this whole thing is to highlight our merchants — turn people onto places that they might not necessarily have gone to,” Jervis said, “and celebrate the fact that some of the best pizza in the Bay is found right here in Berkeley.”
The Pizza Lovers Month campaign offers memberships to participating restaurants with deals like buy one, get one free or $5 medium pizzas, Jervis said. DBA’s goal is to “showcase” all the diverse pizza options and specialties Berkeley has to offer, Jervis noted.
As restaurants continue to recover staffing from the pandemic, Jervis said this campaign is a way to show love to locally owned and operated pizza places. Featured shops include Bobby G’s Pizzeria, Arinell’s, Revival Bar & Kitchen, Jupiter, Red Tomato Pizza House, Rose Pizzeria, Heroic Italian, Lucia’s Pizzeria and Gather Kitchen.
“Merchants are always really excited about it, because it’s a great time for them to try new things,” Jervis said. “We get a lot of support from the workshops, and people are always super psyched when they hear about this. So there’s a lot of pizza being eaten this month, which I think is a huge thumbs up.”
At their annual VIP luncheon, various local pizza shops brought two pizzas for council members, food social media influencers, journalists and pizza club members to taste and enjoy, according to Jervis. He particularly enjoyed Revival’s take on a vegan shawarma pizza with yogurt sauce, as well as Arinell’s classic cheese pizza.
Another participating restaurant, Jupiter, has served the Berkeley community for over 30 years, said service and hospitality manager Jeremy Lewis. Jupiter is a beer garden specializing in craft beers and pizzas named after Jupiter’s many moons, like its popular Galileo and Aries pizzas.
According to Lewis, the beer garden has a unique atmosphere with tin sheeting on the walls, as well as pews, benches and lighting fixtures reminiscent of old churches. Jupiter has a loyal customer base including UC Berkeley students and nearby residents, Lewis added.
“Jupiter really feels like a hidden gem the first time you walk into our patio,” said assistant general manager Anton Thuiliere in an email. “Despite being a couple feet from BART, you feel transported out of the bustling maze of buses and pedestrians when you walk through our breezeway.”
This Sunday, Jupiter will host its annual Sour Sunday event with Triple Rock Brewing Company, Lewis noted. This ticketed event will showcase more than 60 local and international beers, in addition to food offerings.
Another shop, Red Tomato Pizza House, is owned by entrepreneur husband and wife duo Eden Tesfamariam and Muller Haile. They took over the shop in August 2019 and sought quality ingredients to make all of their pizzas fresh, Tesfamariam noted. Red Tomato Pizza House specializes in vegan pizza and oven-baked sandwiches made on Acme bread. The restaurant also features a stage where it hosts comedy and trivia nights.
During the month of February, Red Tomato Pizza House will continue to offer its lunch special of a personalized pizza and free drink and add discounts on regular pizzas and rotate its specialties, according to Tesfamariam.
Gather Kitchen will also participate in Pizza Lovers Month. Restaurant and hospitality consultant Joan Simon said the restaurant received national recognition for its consistently “creative, organic and sustainable menu.” Gather Kitchen is committed to encouraging community involvement, creativity, fun and celebration, according to Simon. Every Saturday, the restaurant hosts a live bluegrass brunch on its heated patio.
“The best part of our restaurant is the people involved and the core values that we collectively hold,” Simon said in an email. “We love that we appeal to vegans as readily as we appeal to omnivores. We love that our new counter lunch service appeals to Cal students, as readily as foodies and that we are a definite destination for theatre goers, nearby workers and visiting parents as well.”