After two years of drawing perpetual lines, plenty of celebrities and a Michelin Bib Gourmand honor in Brentwood, Pizzana has expanded its slow dough empire to the West Hollywood Design District. The restaurant is a partnership between Sprinkles Cupcakes founder Candace Nelson, her husband Charles, star Chris O’Donnell and his wife Caroline that features executive chef and master pizzaiolo Daniele Uditi, who is originally from Naples, Italy.
Uditi started making creative pizzas before he was even a teenager who could drive. “I started to make bread when I was 12 with my auntie and I was the black sheep of the family,” he recalled. “They used to make bread and I would take leftover dough, flatten it out and put toppings on it.”
His current formula for his slow dough is made with organic and stone ground Italian flours and fermented over two days. “I like it because it’s not flashed cooked,” he explains. “It’s cooked for two or three minutes at a lower temperature, you can handle your slice, nothing falls off. That’s my family tradition so that’s why I decided to do that.”
Creating such a sturdy yet lovely and light dough meant that his imagination could run wild when it comes to the toppings. His pizza options include clever takes on pasta dishes like carbonara and cacio e pepe as well as a tribute to Spago’s iconic smoked salmon pie.
Pizzana’s menu reflects a hybrid of Californian and Italian culinary sensibilities, which Uditi has found are fairly similar in key ways. “Naples and Los Angeles has almost the same weather, so for me, the commute wasn’t that difficult,” he explained. “I just tried to understand how people eat here. It’s a little bit different. There are a lot of vegetables here and I just used the knowledge that my mom gave to me: just go in the morning, wake up, go to the market, meet the farmers, talk to them.” The restaurant utilizes organic produce from small farmers at the Santa Monica Farmers Market along with tomatoes that Uditi grows himself in Naples.
In addition to being a partner, Candace Nelson is also Pizzana’s executive pastry chef.
“The reason we came together so strongly is because me and Candace, we are both obsessed with perfection of baking,” Uditi said. “She’s obsessed with perfect desserts, cupcakes, everything that is sweet she is a master. And I’m obsessed with the crust and the dough, with temperature, I’m like a nerd with this stuff.”
With the food nailed down, they had to find the perfect location, which turned out to be the West Hollywood Design District. Uditi notes that the space that houses Pizzana was formerly Ed’s Coffee, which was beloved by locals, and the partners wanted to do their best to keep that friendly neighborhood vibe alive. “It was an institution in the neighborhood. I like to be a neighborhood-friendly pizzeria, so that’s why this location appealed to me and my partners — because that’s what we do!” he explained. “In Brentwood, we are a neighborhood pizzeria, and over here we want to do the same. We just want to be the spot where you can drop in, come and get a pie and a glass of wine and relax.”
It’s been just over a month since opening day, but Uditi has already seen lots of regulars at Pizzana. “There are a couple of people that come every day actually. Every day, I’m not kidding!” he said. “They dine-in or they take a lot of pizza to go to the offices. There are a lot of offices around this area so I’m glad we can cater to them. An office job can be a little bit tiring on the mind and I’m glad that I can give them a slice of happiness sometimes.”
Make a reservation at Pizzana West Hollywood
460 N. Robertson Blvd.