If the last time you visited Hotel Healdsburg and the street-level shop right on the corner of Matheson and Healdsburg Avenue was a simple coffee and sandwich shop, you’re in for a surprise.
Pizzando opens in the former Café Newsstand space today, and brings with it the significant chef talent of former Petite Syrah chef de cuisine Ben Davies, Spoonbar/h2hotel chef Louis Maldonado, and former A16 chef Liza Shaw as a consultant.
It’s been completely redesigned, from casual grab-n-go, to a modern, bright vibe, clean, sleek lines with plenty of stainless steel. It’s still small, but there is seating for 18. And the menu packs a modern Cal-Italian punch ranging from small bites to pastas and pizzas and creative cocktails, Italian apertifs and wines.
A meal might begin with a dish of pickled sardines, cucumbers and mustard seeds; oil poached albacore in herb vinaigrette; or caramelized pumpkin, pepitas and lardo.
Then, it’s on to wood-fired pizza topped in stinging nettles, fontina and hen of the wood mushrooms, or chittara pasta with cured pork belly, tomato and egg yolk, or fried chicken drizzled in jalapeno vinegar. Even better: order a bunch of plates and share, and don’t forget to add side dishes such as fennel braised in oxtail broth studded with ginger and raisins.
To drink, a bottled Negroni from Spoonbar, perhaps, or a Califronicano of Aperol, grapefruit, Cocchi Vermouth di Torinio, gin and soda.
In case you’re wondering, Pizzando is a verb for the act of making pizza, according to chef Maldonado. But the experience is more global, “rustic and casual,” he says. Breaking the stereotypes are signatures like charred Hamachi collar over summer melon and scallions, or Bianca pizza moistened in white sauce, and toppings like burrata, bottarga, wild greens and grilled lemon.
Details: Pizzando, 301 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, 707-922-1117.
Tip: You can get Pizzando-to-go, so reserve a limo, pick up some wine, and take a driving tour of Wine Country while you snack on artisan pizza.