“PizzaHacker” Opening in Bernal, Ending Our Pizza Deprivation

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pizzahack

Citizens of Bernalwood, our long neighborhood nightmare of subpar pizza has come to an end. No longer shall we have to venture beyond the cozy confines of our familiar Bernal terrain to enjoy pizza done right. Destiny and market opportunity have conspired to bring us some very fine pizza. Rejoice!

The PizzaHacker is setting up shop at 3299 Mission Street at 29th, in  the former bank building that was formerly home to Inca’s Peruvian restaurant after it was formerly home to a record store. The PizzaHacker is Jeff Krupman, and he’s not new to the pizza game, having spent the last few years doing pop-ups around town. Foodie critics love love love him, but now he’s planting roots in Bernal Heights, and I’m here to tell you, we are extremely fortunate.

The PizzaHacker will be open for a soft-launch tonight and tomorrow, Friday 12/20 and Saturday 12/21, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, let’s talk about the pizza…

Your Bernalwood editor visited the PizzaHacker last night to sample the merchandise. Apart from the installation of a new pizza oven, the old Inca’s space remains largely unchanged for now.

PizzaHacker Jeff was there, so I introduced myself and I ordered a straight-up Marinara pizza to-go. The pie cost $15, and apparently, I was the PizzaHacker’s very first paying customer in the new space. Whoohoo!

Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter was waiting eagerly when I got home, so we quickly began our taste test. The Cub Reporter spent a lot of time studying the pizza arts during summer sojourns on the greasy streets of New York and New Jersey, so her palette in these matters is impeccable. And after just one bite, we both declared our pizza from the PizzaHacker to be “OMG! INCREDIBLE!!”

Here’s the Cub Reporter conducting her taste test:

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And here’s why our pizza was excellent:

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No joke, that was by far the best pizza I’ve had in San Francisco in recent memory. Rejoice!

PizzaHacker business partner Jimmy explains the restaurant’s plan for the next few weeks:

Right now we are still working on the space and will be serving pizza here and there to test things out.  After the soft-opening on Saturday, we are going to shut down completely to build out the bar and work out any finishing touches. We hope to be fully open and servicing the Bernal Community by January 15th. All in all its going to be a pretty simple restaurant.  A few pizzas, a salad or two, beer and wine on tap.

So there you have it.

Run! — don’t walk! — to the PizzaHacker tonight and tomorrow night on Mission at 29th to taste a preview of the coming attractions. Then rest assured that Bernal will soon be home to a pizza place we can all be proud of… at last.

Thank you, PizzaHacker, and welcome to Bernal Heights.

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70 thoughts on ““PizzaHacker” Opening in Bernal, Ending Our Pizza Deprivation

  1. Sorry, B’Wood–I like my pizza buried under good mozzarella balanced with the right amount of sauce and no burn. I’m a Jersey Girl still missing real pizza after transplanting here 37 years ago.

    • With all due respect: I’m from New Jersey as well, and that remains my yardstick even after 20+ years here. When I return to our ancestral homeland, I eat the local pizza there three meals a day. And until now, Arinell’s has been my local gold standard. So trust me when I say you will not be disappointed.

  2. A new pizza restaurant recently opened at the corner San Jose and 30th. But I guess that doesn’t count and won’t be reviewed here, since it isn’t owned by a foodie darling gentrifier.

    • Hey Polly, why don’t you review the new place at San Jose and 30th. Write up a review, send it to Todd, along with some photos. He’d be all over that. Negativity is a downer for everyone and doesn’t help. Also, one would argue that San Jose and 30th is La Lengua, not Bernalwood :-)

      • This is true. I don’t care who writes a review, just so long as whoever writes it is passionate about the topic and not related to the business owner or in their pocket. Polly, tell us why BHP is awesome.

        The location is on the outer perimeter of Greater Bernalwood, but since they put it in the name, they get Bernal cred.

      • Agreed.
        Any review in the autonomous zone would send Burrito Justice into a Sutro fog pic bender and attack the Citizens of Bernal with a laser or something.

    • I’ve tried Bernal Pizza twice and it was horrible both times. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t been reviewed. I really wanted to like it too because our option on Cortalnd isn’t so hot either. Looking forawrd to trying PizzaHacker.

    • Was it Kierkegaard or Dick Van Patten who said, “If you label me, you negate me?”

      Polly, I just tried some BHP fresh out of the oven and it was mediocre. That’s probably why nobody cares enough to blog about it. Nice dig though re: gentrification!

      BHP tastes exactly like EXTREME Pizza which is a local chain. It’s fine and generic–like Chipotle or renting a clean/serviceable car from a Hertz–but Pizza Hacker is another level–like your favorite SF taqueria or (test) driving a car from Ferrari.

      How is this possible? For one, to paraphrase Papa John’s: better ingredients = better pizza.

      Full disclosure: I know Jeff, Jimmy, and “Wayne’s World” well.

    • We’ve gotten delivery from there twice now and liked it both times. Liked the crust and the big choice of toppings. so there.

    • The thing about Pizza for me is variety. I get bored ordering from the same place all the time. I’m happy to have a few more local options that delver now. It’s all good!

    • Roger that – Cortland Rd. Express Rocks.
      Some of the best pizza in town – have enjoyed it for many years – no reason to go else where unless you prefer saltine cracker crust foo foo minimalist pizza.

    • Recently I started to think that Ichi is going to be the anchor for a new food corridor on Mission St. I’m totally guessing that the spaces are more properly sized and affordable over the lots on Cortland.
      Can’t wait until our hood becomes a destination that people from other parts of town will actually want to visit.
      Don’t want to neglect giving props to the OG’s at Blue Plate a little further down the road.

  3. Isn’t it kind of dualistic to refer to a pizza under a mound of cheese? the mound of cheese is part of the pizza after all! And it should be slightly crispy brown on top, not a pile of goop.

  4. I’ll give it a try, though I admit to being a big fan of Zante Pizza on the corner or Cortland and Mission with their chicken tandoori pizza. I’m glad that something is going into the Inca space because hadn’t felt that Inca was that good.

  5. This is welcome news and it looks very delicious and I will most likely be going there often. Unfortunately, I will be referring to it as “the pizza place next to Eagle Donuts” because I just can’t bring myself to say the words “Pizza hacker” out loud.

  6. I nominate this for blog post of the year. That pie looks amazing.

    Just stopped by; they throw open the doors at 5:30. Already, it smelled darn good in there.

    Anyone asserting that no cheese != pizza, you poor bastards need to go to Naples someday.

  7. Heyyyy “long neighborhood nightmare of subpar pizza?” I know Pizza Express may not be everyone’s favorite but they’re not subpar! I happen to love the guys there and the hard work they do, and hey, anyone who is that sweet to my kids gets my eternal gratitude.

  8. Why Malign Pizza Express just because its not all “nuevo-craft” blagh, blagh, blagh (you know white guys from Brooklyn with mustaches driving food trucks and so forth ), Pizza Express make great crust! In fifteen year Pizza Express style pizza will be the authentic throw back style that everyone will be raving about and paying twice what they should for it.

      • I agreed! Pizza Express makes good pizza especially the dough. It’s been in the neighborhood for years, shouldn’t we support them, instead of these other pizza joints outside of Bernal?

      • And once again, ZANTE Pizza on Cortland and Mission, which is even closer to Bernal than the new place. They make excellent pizza, and have for years and years and years.

    • My husband & I love, love, love Pizza Express! Our friends have fallen in love as well, asking to order specifically from them when getting a hankering for pizza. The headline initially frightened me, causing me to believe this new place was possibly replacing Pizza Express. Whew…disaster averted!

  9. I love Bernalwood, and I love PizzaHacker, but I’d like to offer an alternative viewpoint to the one expressed in the headline and opening sentences of this post. The pizza at both Precita Park Cafe and Vega on Cortland are delicious. At both places, the crust is thin, the sauce is fresh and savory, and the cheese and toppings are just right. I’m delighted to see Jeff set up shop here, but I’d encourage even east-coast-oriented Pizza lovers to give these two establishments a try.

    • Well yes their entitlement to express an opinion was in question because of the premise of the whole discussion . . . .when the tittle of the blog is that this new bernal/mission restaurant will “end our Pizza Deprivation” . . . that’s pretty much saying that people who like the existing pizza offerings in Bernal are so misinformed that they don’t even realize that they haven’t been eating pizza rendering their opinions irrelevant.

  10. While I disagreed with the headline and opening sentences, I didn’t find anything about them to suggest readers weren’t free to offer alternative viewpoints. Bernalwood has always been tolerant of differing opinions, especially when they’re offered with respect.

  11. I’m super excited to read about Pizza Hacker and even more to try it in January. But I need to do a shout out to Vega. I lived in Italy for some years and theirs is the real deal. Giuseppe brings the flour and some other key ingredients from Italy and the pizza is just like I remember it being at some of the better pizzarias. But – I would also put that pizza in a different category from American style pizza which seems to be what Pizza Hacker is doing.

  12. DELICIOUS!!
    Got the kale and sausage tonight – YUM!!! Pizza flavor combo was spot on and the crust….did I mention the crust?!? I’m not usually a crust gal but could barely resist – nice salting fellas – delicate yet there. I was planning on saving some for breakfast – oops…Welcome to the hood!

  13. Visited them last night … All three pizzas were delicious! Excited to see where they go from here if this is what they can do before they open….

  14. We ate there last night, had an excellent pie with pepperoni, olives, onion and peppers. Looks like they got a lot more business than they anticipated, but for a shakedown cruise everything went swimmingly. One $15 pizza was perfect to split for two adults. Looks like they’ve found a perfect niche in the neighborhood dining ecosystem.

  15. As a former Brooklynite who moved here relatively recently, I have to give Pizza Express a huge thumbs down. It tries, but not hard enough for us to get pizza from there. If the kids want a quick dinner, we’ll buy the corn crust ones they sell at good life. Not really pizza, but not bad at all.

    Todd, we’ll have to try Arinell’s. We love Arizmendi’s pizza, and have heard great things about Vega, but for NY pizza we’ve recently liked Pizza on Noriega, which is way the heck by the beach on Noriega, but worth it when we have a hankering. They’re a little slow, and fold the boxes as they need them (no guy in the corner folding hundreds of boxes ahead of time) but pretty close to the real deal — and by “real deal” I mean the pizza of my youth. When we go to visit NY, our friends know to order a few large pies and a mess of garlic knots.

  16. Loved the pizza. I’d really like to see that stretch of Mission become a food destination. The pizza is not for everyone, and that’s ok. The vast majority of their pies have cheese. I hope they do great and that the neighborhood welcomes them.

  17. Worth pointing out that this location is not in Bernal Heights at all, it’s in La Lengua, a district that does not suffer from any dearth of pizza.

      • You’re confused. Zante’s is in La Lengua, not Bernal Heights.

        Don’t feel bad, though, a lot of people make the same mistake.

      • We’ve been over this before. “La Lengua” doesn’t exist. The official definition of Bernal Heights, which has been on the books for over a century, shows that Bernal Heights extends west to San Jose Avenue. The current SF Planning Department neighborhood map moves the Bernal Heights boundary even further west to Dolores.

        Here’s a link to the official neighborhood map: http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=1654

      • Exactly, we’ve been over it, but you still seem confused. Well, either that or this is just some odd long-term attempt at a practical joke.

        Well, or you’re delusional, I guess, that’s always a possibility.

      • I’m not the least bit confused. You’re promoting a NON-EXISTENT neighborhood. I’m talking about an EXISTING neighborhood that has existed since the 1800s and is recognized by the SF Planning Department, the Real Estate Board, the banks, everybody. Mission Street from Chavez south to 280 is in Bernal Heights. End of discussion.

  18. Wow Pizza is right up there with parking who knew? So many assumptions stated here, whenever anyone tries to open something in a failed retail space I cheer. Except no more nail salons we have so many, what were our toes like in the 80’s? Remember when that bank building was a soup place? For years I begged the guys at Zante to sell me their uncooked dough and they did if they had enough for their orders. And if you are in the mood their Indian Pizza is a curried dream. I do not know what hegemony is but I will look it up now. Oh my.

    • For future reference, at a games party last night in someone’s Nob Hill home, we ordered pizza from Extreme Pizza. They had a pizza tracker phone app, which showed the pizza wandering around Nob Hill and then going back to the restaurant. The driver claimed that he went to the apartment building and rang the door. Given that people were arriving for the party during that period and app didn’t show the driver anywhere near the apartment, it was an obvious lie. Two hours later the pizza still wasn’t delivered (we made allowances for it being NYE). And they never bothered to phone back.

      So my advice, is that whatever you do, order from any pizza place you want, but beware of Extreme Pizza.

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