Pizzetta 211: Hard to Handle
July 15, 2007

Okay, I love Pizzetta 211. I really, really, REALLY love them, but I swear, they are just like the crabby old grandmother who makes really good cookies, kisses you on the check, then scrubs her orange lipstick off so violently that it leaves a bruise.

Wait, I take that back, Pizzetta is never crabby, but they do make it so hard to love them at times.

Let's take it point-by-point:

Nowhere to Sit:

I'm completely fine with their teeny-tiny eating area that seats about four at the bar and maybe a squeezed ten or twelve in the rest of the place. It's a small place, it's a cozy place. Outside, they can accommodate maybe eight more under their powerful heat lamps (when it's really cold, they hand out spare blankets and heavy coats, but the heat lamps are pretty much all you need, even on the coldest SF night), but that's it. Just get there early enough and while you may wait, you won't wait long.

No Reservations:

Of course they don't accept reservations. Fine -- there are many places that are first come, first serve. It's easy to deal with.

No Parking:

Just make sure you schedule in enough time to circle a five-block radius quite a few times because unless you live there, parking is lousy in the Outer Richmond. I've never seen so many garages in all my life!

No Credit Cards or Checks:

Then there's the fact that they are cash-only. Well, okay, we didn't know that the first time we went, but clearly they are prepared for that eventuality and happily directed us to a cash machine located a block away. Now we're always prepared.

No Take-Out on Weekends:

Because of all of the above, we decided that maybe we wouldn't always eat there. Instead, we could pick up orders, right? They do take-out, this should be easy! Not so much. The real problem is, we never know when we can do take-out from them and always have to call ahead and ask. (They told me that they "run out of dough" on the weekends, so no take-out then.)

We called tonight to ask about the special pizzas of the day and then decided to place an order. It was 4:51. They wanted us to call back at 5:00 when they were open. Okay, I'm reasonable, I understand that they would need every minute to clean up and get ready for the night's opening. But still.

Separately, I understand ALL the above. I even understand that while they are clearly popular enough to consider it, their lack of expansion is "keeping it real" and makes sure that they are saving themselves for their immediate, loyal neighbors. They are clearly the epitome of a local place.

TOGETHER, is where all these things combine to make Pizzetta 211 a really, really, REALLY difficult place to love.

Sigh. But I still do.

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