Nancy Silverton is opening her first new restaurant in six years, bringing a fast-casual Italian spot called Pizzette to Culver City this fall. It will be located in the under-construction Citizen Public Market food hall on Culver Boulevard.
As its name suggests, Pizzette’s focus will be on small pizzas.
Half of them will be traditional, including a margherita and a funghi misti. The other pizzettes are “stuffed” — “not to be confused with a calzone,” Silverton noted — and will be a cross between a pizza and a pita sandwich.
Silverton said she was inspired to create stuffed pizzettes this spring during a trip to Jerusalem, where she and food writer Ruth Reichl ate outstanding sabich — an amalgam of eggplant, potatoes, egg and amba, a pickled mango condiment, stuffed into a pita — from a corner sandwich shop.
At Citizen Public Market, “I didn’t really want to do a Mozza2Go or a smaller Pizzeria Mozza.”
“Every bite that you had was a different bite,” Silverton said. “And it hit me at 1 in the morning or whatever crazy time it was: When a traditional sandwich is built horizontally, every bite is the same. But a sandwich that is stuffed from above gives you the opportunity to make every bite matter.”
Building off that idea, Silverton decided she would take her pizza dough and use it as a vehicle to “open it up and kind of drop things in that you would a pita.”
The stuffed pizzettes include a roasted eggplant with labneh, zhug and za’atar, and ones with more common pizza toppings, such as a meat-loaded quatro salame with finocchiona, calabrese, mortadella and coppa.
Pizzette will join about half a dozen other vendors at Citizen Public Market when it opens in a few months. The stall will have a handful of seats, but most orders will be to-go.
Given the counter-service restaurant’s location near several office buildings, Silverton said she wanted to create a menu that was “desk-friendly.”
There will be three salads, including a chopped (it’ll be different from the chef’s popular one at Pizzeria Mozza, with ingredients that are cubed instead of sliced) and an arugula with Armenian string cheese.
Silverton said opening a stall in a food court was a chance to offer a pared-down menu with more affordable items than those found at her full-scale restaurants, which include Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza, Chi Spacca and Mozza2Go at the corner of Melrose and Highland avenues.
At Pizzette, “it’s not food that people are going to necessarily take home,” she said. “It’s more food that people are going to take back to their office and eat there.”
Next year, Silverton is planning to open the Barish, an Italian steakhouse, at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.