Monday, July 25, 2011

Pizzaiolo

Charlie Hallowell, the chef-owner of Pizzaiolo.
On Saturday, I met the architect Christopher Andrews at Pizziaolo, a cafe-restaurant in Oakland's Temescal district. I hadn't spent a lot of time there of late, but I worked nearby in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The area is now totally different - a very vibrant scene. 

Chris helped design the garden behind the Pizziaolo, including the chicken coop, which a few years after he built it is now hidden beneath the leaves.


Chris Andrews showing me his chicken coop.
Along with chickens, there's an apiary - a fancy word for beehive. The presence of chickens gives a bucolic flavor to the shared outdoor area behind Pizzaiolo.

Chickens at Pizzaiolo.
The apiary at Pizzaiolo.
Chris and I sat in the art-filled backroom, which wasn't as crowded as the main space. There's a small-town feel to the restaurant, which must reflect the owner. A look at their website puts a lot of emphasis on local ingredients. Hallowell came from Chez Panisse, so Pizzaiolo is in the Alice Waters tradition, but without the French overtones.

Art, bike, and man.

Cow's head painting, not sure by who.
Here are some scenes from the patio, which will give a sense of the ambiance. It reminded me of towns in Italy and Spain, not so much designed as produced by artisans whose aesthetic sense is applied directly, drawing on tradition and memory. Speaking of his chicken coop, Chris spoke of his delight in building it - something that architects don't often get to do.


Detail of the brick terrace, garden, and chicken coop.
Looking west from the terrace.
The bocce ball court.
Outdoor storage for the other restaurant.
The summer's film schedule.
Wood for the Pizzaiolo ovens.
On my way down Telegraph, Chris phoned me and gave me a helpful hint about Pizziaolo, which I'll pass along: you can park in the Walgreen's lot across the street. That was the deal that Oakland cut with the drug chain, and it will save you time and dimes (or dollars, to put it in 2011 terms) to park there.

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