If you don’t feel like chasing down the DEL POPOLO truck for one of Jon Darsky’s superlative wood-fired oven pizzas, now you can enjoy one of his Neapolitan-inspired pies while sitting in his handsome new restaurant in Lower Nob Hill. Look for about five to seven pizzas in all, from a marinara to broccoli with mozzarella, black olive, and ricotta salata di bufala.
But it’s much more than just a chic pizza spot: the expanded menu includes seasonal antipasti, salads, and house-cured meats. There will be six to ten small plates in all. Chef de cuisine Jeffrey Hayden comes from Boot & Shoe Service in Oakland, and you will see his vegetable-centric and market-driven approach in creative dishes like fuyu persimmon and radicchio with pistachio, mint, and yogurt; Yellow Finn potatoes with green garlic, pounded herbs, and lemon; and charred cauliflower with roasted new onions, pickled lime, and poached farm egg. I’m willing to bet the housemade sausage-stuffed Medjool dates with roasted tomato and bacon will be on most tables (Hayden worked at Blackbird in Chicago, so you can bet he was no stranger to the stuffed dates at sister restaurant Avec). There are also a few desserts too.
Darsky’s naturally leavened dough finds philosophical partners in the selections for the wine and beer program, which will highlight naturally fermented selections; Oakland’s Ordinaire Wine Shop & Wine Bar is behind the wine list, while Andrew Merritt—who has worked with Saison, Michael Mina, and Leopold’s Gasthaus—is behind the beer selections.
The 1,700-square-foot space is anchored with a wood-fired brick Acunto oven imported from Italy, framed by a dramatic backdrop featuring a 20-foot arch filled with firewood. Emily Knudsen for Jessica Helgerson Interior Design in Portland, Oregon, is behind the interior and exterior design. The facade’s original detail was revealed, as well as clerestory windows and the original fir floor.
Hours are Sun, Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat until 11pm. Del Popolo accepts reservations for parties of four or more on Resy, although it’s primarily a walk-in restaurant. 855 Bush St. at Taylor, 415-589-7940.
The oven and counter at Del Popolo. Photo by Joseph Schell.