On Wednesday night, two movie premieres with red carpet arrivals and photographers spilling out of the adjacent ArcLight Cinemas were like an impromptu welcoming party for the opening of new pizzeria Stella Barra, the Hollywood sibling of Santa Monica's popular Stella Rossa Pizza Bar.
A glass case full of saucer-sized bacon chocolate chip cookies greeted customers as they stepped into a dimly lighted expanse with a glowing pizza oven in the distance, a hint of dessert even before they ordered their spiced lardo-stuffed meatballs.
Inside, solo diners at the 25-seat cement-topped bar in the center of the restaurant stayed glued to their phones as they sipped citrus-infused cocktails. Those seated at high-top tables and stools near the front of the restaurant cheered on the hockey and basketball games playing on two television screens.
Underneath exposed filament lighting, a mixed crowd filled the mismatched antique chairs that lined the brick-framed open kitchen. Here was a prime view of chef-partner Jeff Mahin's signature pizzas and small plates.
The burrata with roasted tomato jam and house baked baguette came highly recommended by servers and were center stage on most tables. Spring onion agrodolce paired with sweet gorgonzola and walnut pesto were served as small bites.
Thin-crust pizzas emerged from the oven, including red varieties such as the porchetta and fennel with Caciocavallo cheese and smoked paprika oil, and white varieties like shaved mushroom with Gruyere, melted onions and black truffle.
You already knew what you were ordering for dessert.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sunday to Thursday 7 a.m. to midnight, Friday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
6372 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, stellabarra.com.
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