A new pizzeria has opened its doors on University Avenue in Berkeley.
Alexis Rorabaugh and Gerad Gobel opened Rose Pizzeria, a restaurant specializing in a cross between Neapolitan and New York style pizza, Wednesday. Rorabaugh said their first day was met with positive reviews from customers, which she attributes to how their 13-inch pizzas are prepared.
“We do a longer fermentation than most places, so what that basically means is it ferments the dough,” Rorabaugh said. “We let it sit for a longer time, so it develops more flavor.”
Rorabaugh and Gobel also try to use local ingredients in their pizzas. For instance, one of the flours they use is milled locally and their mozzarella is from a dairy production facility in Petaluma, California, she said.
According to Rorabaugh, local ingredients are fresher because they don’t have to be transported across far distances and buying such ingredients helps the local community.
“It’s really important to use local ingredients to support the community and the local food chain and the economy, of course,” Rorabaugh said.
Rather than using a gas oven, Rorabaugh added that she and Gobel use an electric PizzaMaster oven from Sweden that cooks their pizzas in a similar way to a wood-fired oven, which makes their pizza crispy and “turns out pizza faster.”
She said the electric oven is efficient given that Rose Pizzeria’s kitchen is only a hundred square feet. Because of this limitation, they’ve opted not to do takeout yet.
According to Jessica Steeve, co-owner of neighboring business Chocolaterie, the new pizzeria is an exciting addition to the community of restaurants in the area.
“It’s exciting. I’ve met the owners, and all of our little group here in this area are mom and pop businesses,” Steeve said. “We like to have someone similar to us who’s starting their own thing — people making the thing that they’re passionate about. Ours happens to be chocolate, theirs happens to be pizza.”
Steeve said Rose Pizzeria used to be an eyebrow threading salon before it was taken over by Rorabaugh and Gobel. In addition, she said the backyard area of the location used to be a rose garden and a parking lot.
Rorabaugh and Gobel have turned this backyard area into an extension of the dining area, which helped them finalize the decision to buy the location because of its pleasant setting for dining.
“What drew us to this (location) was the back patio,” Rorabaugh said. “Then we could have seating and serve nice wines and do some cocktails, do all the stuff that we love about restaurants … I hope everyone can come out and enjoy some pizza and sit on our back patio.”