Amid growing divisions in American society, there is a unifying light: love of pizza. Or so Berkeleyside’s Nosh would have you believe.
On Feb. 1, Pizza Lovers Month begins in Berkeley. Councilmember Kate Harrison will make that official at tonight’s City Council meeting through an official proclamation. If you’ve never been inspired to attend a City Council meeting, this just might be the reason to go.
Center stage of this monthlong homage to melted cheese and dough will be Berkeley’s first-ever Pizza Lovers Crawl. The nine participating pizzerias in Downtown Berkeley have all agreed: If you buy their pizza in February, they’ll punch your Pizza Lovers Punch Card. Sixteen punches and you automatically enter the Downtown Berkeley Association’s Pizza Lovers raffle. Win the raffle and you get free gift cards to Downtown Berkeley businesses. But don’t expect this to be all fun and games.
During the fraught weeks of February, it will be harder than ever for Berkeley residents and students to avoid age-old and deeply divisive questions. What constitutes too much cheese? Does stuffed crust make sense? Deep-dish or thin-crust? Garlic or regular? Jupiter or Bobby G’s?
The Downtown Berkeley Association, which is coordinating the event — replete with press releases, cumbersome hashtags and endorsements from city officials — may not have explicitly said this, but come Feb. 1, the pizza wars will have officially begun in Berkeley.
And you thought the housing wars were contentious.
The Downtown pizzerias that have signed up for the crawl must now be held up against each other, and if you want the full pizza lover’s experience, you’re going to have to try them all.
Participating pizzerias include:
- Arinell Pizza — 2119 Shattuck Ave.
- Barbarian Pizza Bar — 2012 Shattuck Ave.
- Bobby G’s Pizzeria — 2072 University Ave.
- Gather — 2200 Oxford St.
- Gio’s Pizza & Bocce — 2420 Shattuck Ave.
- Jupiter — 2181 Shattuck Ave.
- Lucia’s — 2016 Shattuck Ave.
- PIQ Bakery and Cafe — 91 Shattuck Ave.
- Red Tomato Pizza House — 2017 University Ave.
We at the Clog know that eating at nine pizza places in the span of one month (the shortest month, no less) might prove difficult. But you’re in luck! All nine sit within mere blocks of one another.
Pizza lovers might consider splitting them up into roughly two per weekend for the four weekends of February. Those with a little more ambition could take on the Daily Clog challenge: Visit all nine pizzerias in one day.
But if you have to prioritize, we think taking it street by street might be the way to go. University first, then Shattuck and Oxford to round it off.
Many of Berkeley’s most iconic pizzerias aren’t involved with the pizza crawl, but during Pizza Lovers Month, let’s spread the pizza love around. And remember, pizza isn’t about making friends, it’s about being right. So eat your deep-dish pizza regardless of how those thin-crusters try to make you feel.