The olfactory ambience of Pizzando is evident the minute the door opens: whiffs of rosemary and the complex scents of a pizza oven offer multiple greetings to customers' noses.
If they weren’t hungry when they walked through the door, patrons will soon be in that mode as the delicious scents jump-start the salivary glands.
Circe Sher, part-owner of the new restaurant, sat down with Patch and gave us answers to 10 things our readers must know about Pizzando.
1. When did Pizzando open? Sept. 18.
2. Location: 301 Healdsburg Ave. at the corner of Healdsburg Avenue and Matheson. Hours: Sun. – Thurs. 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Fri. – Sat. 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
3. What was in the space before you? Café Newstand, which closed earlier in 2012.
4. Why Healdsburg? The Pizzando concept came from one of our partners, Paolo Petrone. He’s Italian, and he remembers all these perfect corner pizzerias in Italy. We felt this corner would be perfect to offer the same. It fits into the food of Healdsburg and is moderately priced and open late.
5. Do you work with local farmers for some of your ingredients? We work with some local farmers—Front Porch Farm and Mix Gardens are two of them. We use Rosie chicken and Hobbs’ pork.
6. Tell me about the rotating menu. While Pizzando keeps some of our regular menu items, like the chicken, some of our influences are the seasonality and availablity of food. Right now, we have a persimmon, mustard greens, pecans, gruyere and orange oil pizza.
7. What is the upside? And the downside? I love that it has brought so much energy and vitality to this street corner. I like that we have a facility open all day for our guests at Hotel Healdsburg and h2hotel. The downside is we don’t have enough seats on a busy day. We seat 18.
On a personal note, Sher says that, as the mother of a 10-month-old baby, she orders take-out every week. The crispy chicken and mussels and clams are her particular favorites, along with the pizza.
8. There are several pizzerias in town, what can our readers find at Pizzando that’s unique? Cappy’s bottled cocktails. Daniel ‘Cappy’ Sorentino is the bar manager at Spoonbar and he has crafted the selection of cocktails and aperitifs.
9. What do you want people to know about you? That the whole menu is available to go; that we are open all day until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (winter hours). We don’t just have pizza—we have starters, pasta, vegetables and meats, as well.
(Writer’s addendum: I enjoyed two dishes at Pizzando and would highly recommend both of them:
1. The lamb, ricotta, fennel, potato and butter lettuce pizza. Delicious -- the unique combination of lamb and butter lettuce offered complex flavors and the thin crust was done to just the right combination of crisp and chewy. I drizzled it with the chile de árbol oil for an incredible zip.
2. The crispy chicken legs with spicy vinegar jalepeños were perfect: vibrant, nuanced, bold -- may end up being my favorite chicken dish.)