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Downtown MV restaurant news, and "Neapolitan" pizza craze

Original post made by Max Hauser, Old Mountain View, on Nov 22, 2013

Note: Thanksgiving week, Ava's new full Deli at 340 Castro will feature traditional Thanksgiving dishes for take-out, maybe useful for those who don't want to cook. Scratch (401 Castro) and Morocco's (873 Castro) will offer special Thanksgiving-day menus, and once again Ristorante Don Giovanni (235 Castro), assisted by volunteers, will serve free dinner on Thanksgiving day, 11-4 to all who show up.

Four Mountain View restaurants are recommended in the 2014 Bay Area Michelin Guide released last month: Bamboo Garden, Sakoon, Cascal, and Chez TJ (starred). The annual Guide recommends about 500 restaurants that it considers to be among the best 2% or so for the region.

1. Pending restaurant changes in downtown MV

A location of the Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot Restaurant chain is due to replace Hunan Chili at 102 Castro, per City zoning documents.

A Tartine bakery location is planned for 331 Castro, according to downtown business people familiar with the project.

Cijjo, "Coming "Holiday 2013" to 246 Castro, calls itself a "cosmopolitan tapas-style restaurant and lounge." Cijjo will take over the former Pho Garden site, while Pho Garden moves nearby to 292 Castro.

Doppio Zero is the reincarnation, now underway, of "Pasta?" at 160 Castro to a pizzeria featuring a cook trained to make authentic (VPN*) Neapolitan pizzas. A similar Pasta? conversion in Palo Alto produced Figo. (I haven't asked, but the name Doppio Zero presumably alludes to the famous Caputo "00" pizza flour from Italy.) More info about VPN and the Neapolitan pizzeria fashion, below.

2. "Neapolitan" pizza trend

The Bay Area restaurant industry is currently hot for "Naples-style" pizzerias. One reason is worldwide interest in true ("VPN") Naples-style pizzas (the world's original pizzas), promoted by the VPN trade association. Pizza cooks can take a VPN course, or a restaurant can become VPN-affiliated (a longer and exacting process, subject to spot inspections). Currently, just four Bay Area pizzerias are VPN-certified. Definitive US list:

Web Link

The VPN restaurant in our part of the Bay Area is Napoletana Pizzeria on El Camino. It happens also to be run by a perfectionist who makes about the best pizzas I've had in 50-plus years of pizzaphilia. (If you aren't experienced with VPN pizzas, be aware that in Naples they're smaller, and served unsliced, on plates, with knife and fork, which really is the best way to enjoy them. If sliced immediately after baking, US-fashion, the tips of the slices may become wet or soft.)

But "Neapolitan" pizza styles are fashionable, even at restaurants with no VPN connections. So the term is used both strictly and loosely. Recently local journalist Jamie Morrow reported "Naples-style pizza is a growing trend on the Peninsula." Parker Hospitality, a restaurant group, announced a deal with Spin! Neapolitan Pizza of Kansas City (which has no VPN connection) for "five restaurants in seven years in San Mateo County, with option to open another five in Santa Clara County." Other "Neapolitan" pizzerias have been opening around the Bay Area. Some, while not VPN-certified restaurants, feature VPN-trained cooks (as at the new Doppio Zero). One such restaurant, Terrone in Palo Alto, now renamed Terún, had website phrasing that misled some people to thinking the restaurant itself was VPN-certified, but the list linked above is the actual authority.

Comments (4)

Posted by fc
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2014 at 9:26 am

fc is a registered user.

I am the owner of Terun and I came across this article.....I read:

One such restaurant, Terrone in Palo Alto, now renamed Terún, had website phrasing that misled some people to thinking the restaurant itself was VPN-certified, but the list linked above is the actual authority.

I am not sure where you get those info but they are WRONG. I take pride in our VPN certification:

From VPN website: Web Link

CALIFORNIA (alphabetic order)

A16 Restaurant San Francisco 2355 Chestnut Street
Ca' Momi Napa 610 First Street # 9 & 10
Caffè Calabria San Diego 3933 30th St
Cupola Pizzeria San Francisco 845 Market Street, 4th Floor, Ste 400
Fuoco Fullerton 101 N. Harbor Blvd.
Napoletana Pizzeria Mountain View 1910 W El Camino Real Ste C
Pizza e Vino Rancho Santa Margarita (by the lake) 31441 Santa Margarita Parkway, Suite M
Settebello Pasadena 625 E Colorado Blvd

Terún Palo Alto 448 South California Avenue

The Prospector Twain Harte P.O. Box 1637 23092 Fuller Rd
Ugo Culver City 3865 Cardiff Ave

Please correct the article which is misleading.
Franco Campilongo

Posted by Max Hauser
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2014 at 11:19 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Greetings Mr. Campilongo, and congratulations on achieving AVPN affiliato status with medalion #464! This brings the current number of Bay Area VPN-certified pizzerias to five. I look forward very much to trying your pizzas.

Since you raised the point, here are details behind what I posted earlier. I believe that my statements above very accurately reflected information publicly available when I wrote them in November. I do not post such information without fact-checking.

Melanie Wong on , after earlier characterizing Terrone in March 2013 as "VPN certified," amended her comments in September after noticing that the official AVPN web site (which I and you both cited above) did not list your restaurant. She wrote "Terrone's statement about VPN certification on [Terrone's] website is misleading or at least muddled," pointing to a statement on the then-current web page, Web Link -- which no longer exists today. (That web page evidently had led Ms Wong to describe your restaurant in March 2013 as VPN-certified.)

Before posting this item to Town Square on November 22, I carefully checked the AVPN web site myself, and still found neither Terrone nor Terún listed. Today (January 2014), the AVPN site does list Terún. It also, on the details page, gives Terún's certification date as September 13, 2013:

Web Link

Since I did not see Terún listed there on November 22, I assume there was a delay between Terún's certification in September and its appearance on AVPN's web site. AVPN also makes clear that Terún did not have such certification in March 2013.

Thank you for supplying the updated information, and good luck with your VPN pizzeria business!

Posted by Max Hauser
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2014 at 11:30 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

My apologies for an error: I just confirmed that other entries in the AVPN Web site use European date shorthand. This implies that the certification date listed for Terún as "9/12/2013" means December 9, 2013, not September 13.

This then implies that the issue in November was not actually a delay in AVPN's listing of Terún, but rather that Terún still was not certified on that date, when I wrote the original Town Square posting above.

Posted by fc
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2014 at 11:59 am

fc is a registered user.

Sorry was my mistake. I did not read the date of the article. Sorry if I wasted your time. Hope to have you at Terun soon.

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