Before coming to Berkeley, when I heard “pizza,” I immediately imagined thin New York slices, heart-shaped Gustapizza in Florence (aka the one your friend in a sorority Instagrammed three times during study abroad), or even a cornmeal-y Chicago-style pie. While Berkeley may be a lot of things, foodie heaven included, the average pizza lover might not think to look to the East Bay to satisfy their cravings.
Last May, Business Insider awarded The Cheese Board Collective on Shattuck the title of “The Best Pizza in America,” according to Yelp users. Serving up a single, seasonal, sourdoughy pizza per day, alongside a local musical ensemble and tub of addicting green sauce, Cheese Board is one of my favorite places at which to dine, listen to live music and people-watch. To give you a little more context, I literally checked the pizza schedule every Monday night over winter break because that is what love looks like, people! I also once Postmated a Sliver pizza to Wurster because that is what instability looks like, people!
What Business Insider failed to mention were the competing pizza-of-the-day joints around Berkeley and the Bay Area. Though there are a few (shout out to Arizmendi Bakery in SF), we will focus on Sliver (soon opening in Downtown), and the lesser-known Nabolom Bakery in Elmwood. Sliver is owned by Cheese Board as their “sports bar-ish” sister restaurant, and Nabolom recently started serving up a dank vegetarian pizza-of-the-day when Cheese Board alum Julia Elliott purchased the neighborhood bakery last year. While all roads lead back to Cheese Board, each restaurant really does offer something special and unique to their take on a Berkeley favorite. Unsure where to go to grab a slice or even a whole pie? Take this quiz to find out which pizza you need in your life right now!
- How much money are you willing to throw down?
- Living on a budget but have some wiggle room
- I am considering selling my soul on the black market to free myself of this debt
- Finna make it rain
- How do you take your coffee?
- Almond milk chai latte with a good book
- Philz Mint Mojito, mostly for the Snapchat
- Strada Americano, extra hot, extra shot
- What is your ideal Friday night?
- Hip gallery opening my co-op friend told me about
- Concert with your best pals
- Take-out and Netflix
- With which Berkeley character do you most resonate?
- Tai Chi Man in Wheeler Hall
- Robert Reich
- That kid pulling an all-nighter, every night, in Main Stacks
- Crust of choice?
- Soft and doughy
- Crunchy AF
- Somewhere in the middle
- It’s Saturday and you have ZERO homework. Which SF neighborhood are you in?
- North Beach
- The Marina District
- What is your mode of transportation?
- AC Transit (if it’s on time)
- My car
- My own two feet!
- Check out Nabolom in Elmwood! This low-key but up-and-coming neighborhood bakery will satisfy your pizza cravings and save you that awkward run-in with your freshman-year roommate. Be sure to load up on the green dipping sauce, which is more akin to a chimichurri than the creamy, green goddess stuff served elsewhere. Bonus: Nabolom serves a different pizza for lunch and for dinner so you can go twice in one day and have a completely different experience!! Double bonus: Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue serves half-baked Nabolom pizzas that you can finish cooking off at home!
- Like the trendy Berkeley student you are, Cheese Board is your place! As both a traditionalist and a culture junkie, the bumping vibes, winding lines and live music make your heart sing! Be sure to try out the buffalo milk soft serve and find a spot outside to escape the noise. You technically aren’t supposed to sit on the median, but no one ever made it big without bending a few rules.
- Sliver is for you! This spot is open the latest, closing at 10 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. Two hours have never been more important. Sliver is incredibly consistent in its weekly offerings, and it serves that amazing corn, feta and green pepper situation at least once a week. When everything else in your life feels chaotic, Sliver is your rock.