Callowhill, the up-and-coming slice of town north of Vine Street and Chinatown, has a new pizza/sandwich option.
Dean Kitagawa, who’s been in the business for 30 years (after starting as a busboy at Felicia’s, he moved up the ranks to work at the old Rococo and Friday Saturday Sunday, is back in the game with a shop called Wood Street.
It’s on the corner of 12th and Wood Streets, across the street from the recently shuttered Brick & Mortar. (Lesson here: It’s mighty tough being the first upscale bar/restaurant in any up-and-coming neighborhood. Customers may up and come for pizza and hoagies, but not necessarily for $11 cocktails and a $14 grilled cheese sandwich.)
“I watched this neighborhood for years,” said Kitagawa, who observed the decline and closing of the longtime diner Jany’s, followed by the short-lived successor Cafe Victoria. “The area is desperate for pizzas, cheesesteaks, and sandwiches.” He needed someone to set up a menu, and thought of Paul Zechman, with whom he worked years ago at Susanna Foo.
Zechman, who also was opening chef at Society Hill Hotel, was working on St. John but had grown tired of living in the Caribbean. He told Kitawaga that he wanted in. As in, a chef’s job. It’s his first pizza experience.
Menu (below and here) is simple: a few appetizers, five hot sandwiches, five cold sandwiches, and 18-inch pizzas. Zechman is using low-moisture mozzarella and 00 flour mixed with a touch of cake flour for a sturdy, but thin-crusted pie. It’s a cross between New York and Neapolitan.
Atmosphere is simple – just a series of eating counters and booths.
Hours are noon to midnight, but will be extended on weekends.