Note: First Looks give previews of new dishes, drinks, and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
"To me, pizza should be casual. Pizza should be fun. It's something everyone can relate to," explained Colin Etezadi, when he sat down to tell us about Slicer, his recently opened Oakland pizzeria. So, despite his experience cooking upscale, wood-fired pies at both Pizzaiolo and Boot & Shoe Service, Etezadi envisioned nothing more than a simple slice shop with his new venture. "It's a chill place where you can come in with your sweatpants or have your kid run in and grab a take-out pie," he told us.
In fact, rather than the fancier spots on Etezadi's resume, the pies at Slicer more closely resemble the ones he made almost a decade ago while working at the original Gioia Pizzeria. Like that much-loved Berkeley hole in the wall, Slicer offers New York-style pies with an inventive, seasonal approach to toppings.
Currently, Slicer's menu includes one pie with chunks of pancetta, shaved fennel, and a scattering of mint leaves. Another mixes long strips of summer squash and handfuls of fresh corn. The menu will be edited frequently. "We'll change the menu with what's available and what looks good," Etezadi told us. In explaining his commitment to seasonal cooking, Etezadi said he likes the idea that, on a three-dollar slice, he'll be able to serve up a little bit of the sort of high-quality, organic produce diners would otherwise expect to find in a very expensive meal.
Click through the slideshow to get a look at Slicer's pies...and the giant Sasquatch hanging on its wall.
About the author: David Kover is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and food enthusiast. He occasionally gets his tweet on at @pizzakover.