San Francisco’s Joyride Pizza is bringing Detroit-style pizza to their first East Bay outpost in Berkeley through an expansion partnership with Gilman Brewing Company.
The restaurant is currently open on Gilman St. for lunch and dinner service Wednesday through Sunday and offers delivery to all of the East Bay. Joyride Pizza founder Jesse Jacobs said his partnership with Gilman Brewing co-founder Sean Wells began with the idea to merge flavors.
“Just kicking the tires, we thought ‘hey, let’s do two great tastes that go great together,’” Jacobs said.
As the business originated in San Francisco, Joyride has a strong focus on the city, Jacobs noted. Now, Jacobs said, he’s excited to expand.
Jacobs sees the restaurant expansion as an initial “footprint” that may open the door to the rest of the East Bay, including Albany and Oakland.
“The Bay Area has a very common thread of passion for food, seasonal ingredients and care for quality and sustainability,” Jacobs said. “I would say we’ve had a resounding request for ‘when are you coming to the East Bay?’ and this was just such an easy transition — this was just over the bridge.”
Jacobs also spoke on the unique qualities of Detroit-style pizza, noting that it is the only kind of pizza where people commonly prefer the crust over the pizza.
The style originated in 1946, according to Jacobs, when an Italian immigrant cooked a Sicilian-style pizza in a parts pan from an auto-assembly plant, a technique Jacobs called “mind-blowing.”
Jacobs said he decided to start the restaurant after the business where he previously worked, Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco, closed its doors due to the pandemic.
“I went through a period of reflection and looking about what I love to do and what people needed, and came to the realization that I wanted to be in the business of pizza,” Jacobs said. “Pizza delivers well, in a pandemic or not, and everybody eats pizza.”
The expansion into Berkeley also opens the door to the UC Berkeley campus, Jacobs noted.
He added that Joyride Pizza focuses on local and seasonal ingredients in their menu offerings.
“We’re excited to get to the university crowd as well,” Jacobs said. “We didn’t really have plans to open on campus or anything, but when this came up it was like: ‘holy cow, clearly university kids love pizza.’”