Savannah Manhattan and Thea Touchton find Echo Park’s best pop-up pizza palace and the taste of Sicily as it could never before be experienced.
The conversation of “L.A. has no good pizza” is an empty cry for help from lost souls. The myriad of delicious pies offered in Los Angeles is a grailed path of saucy spots and cheesy check-ins. Eastside, usually full of fair-trade and organic coffee, smoothies and Thai fusion establishments, also houses some of the city’s most unique pizza pleasures.
Quarter Sheets Pizza is a former pop-up restaurant that recently turned into a here-to-stay brick-and-mortar on Hollywood and Portia in Echo Park. The demand for Aaron Lindell and Hannah Ziskin’s signature pizza, and dessert combo, was too tempting to stay in Glendale and we are better for it.
What separates Quarter Sheets from other pizza joints is the whimsical homegrown element it offers. The ingredients are market fresh, the dough is fermented over the course of a day, and Lindell and Ziskin have a divide-and-conquer approach that is undeniable. Lindell creates the Detroit-Style thick slices, while Ziskin masterfully creates undeniable dessert options that belong in art museums.
If you came for thin crust, you came to be disappointed. Quarter Sheets Pizza is for gluten-ravenous vultures who strive for maximum toppings and maximum flavor delivery. While the mattress of dough leans on the oily and softer side, the pillowesque thick crust comforts the teeth and provides a spotlight for the rustic sauce and gourmet-quality vegetables and meat. You will not be disappointed however if you came for a twist on classics. The Red Top, with mozzarella, grana, and basil pack a triad of primary flavors. The vegan Tomato Pie bows into rapini, garlic, chili and olive oil. Yes, they do have pepperoni if you were wondering. All the pizzas come in walk-up only slices or pre-orderable whole pies. The special changes every week in a fun roulette of Sicilian playfulness.
Thea and I sunk our teeth into the special of the week: the Club Deluxe is a whopper of a pie. Lindell describes it as, “A meatball submarine sandwich as a pizza with all the correct upgrades.” Hearty meatballs danced alongside astringent pepperoncini, thinly sliced red onion and fluffy ricotta. It was a crew of Italian delight. The other slice we had was the mainstay Sicilian Corner. The Sicilian Corner grouped together melted mozzarella, stracciatella, basil, and even Calabrian chili. The toppings from the duo of slices made our stomachs warm and made us yearn for a concerto or two.
The curtain call of the delectable lunch was directly from the spells of dessert darling, Hannah Ziskin. Her House of Gluten confections are dazzling. We had the slab cake, which is a Quarter Sheets sweetheart. The layering and song of olive oil chiffon soaked with passionfruit juice and curd, vanilla custard, and mascarpone whipped cream is Ziskin’s favorite creation. It was also one of my favorite desserts and when I first laid eyes on it, I dilated with the intensity of opening Tarantino’s suitcase. The airiness and creaminess were a curtsy to end the early afternoon.
A couple of excellent chefs, a couple of pizza slices, and an eclectic charm are the heart of Portia Street. Find Quarter Sheets Pizza on Instagram. They start pre-orders every Wednesday at 5 p.m., and are open on Fridays and weekends only. There is currently no indoor seating, so it is best to pick up and take it home in this hot sun. Pop into this pop-up and see why they sell out so fast.
Follow Savannah Manhattan and Thea Touchton, aka The Eleats, on Instagram at @savannahmanhattan and @theatouchton.