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With Stellar Pizza, a team of former SpaceX engineers is building pizza robots

A closeup of a pepperoni pizza
In 2022 robots could be assembling your pizza at Stellar Pizza, a new food truck from a team of former SpaceX engineers.
(Stellar Pizza)

Stellar Pizza

A roving pizza outfit is set to launch in early 2022, but you won’t see its founders assembling the toppings onto the dough and firing the pies in the oven — instead, they’ll just be programming the process. Stellar Pizza, founded by ex-SpaceX engineers Benson Tsai, Brian Langone and James Wahawisan, is a food truck that will serve pizzas made by robotic arms that dress and bake the pizzas, which customers will be able to order via the company’s app. Former SpaceX executive chef and director of culinary services Ted Cizma is overseeing the recipes with aid from consultant and Slow Rise Pizza Co. founder Noel Brohner. Classic pizzas such as pepperoni and supreme will be on offer, as will a build-your-own option. Stellar Pizza will launch in Los Angeles, with additional trucks planned for locales such as Orange County, San Diego and Texas. Follow @eatstellarpizza on Instagram for launch updates.

eatstellarpizza.com

ABSteak

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Chef Akira Back’s Korean-influenced Beverly Center steakhouse opened roughly one month before 2020’s pandemic restaurant shutdowns and has remained closed ever since, but on Dec. 3 the restaurant will return with a new focus on Korean barbecue. The chef and former “Iron Chef America” contestant, who has restaurants in Seoul, Hanoi, Las Vegas, Dubai and elsewhere, opened ABSteak as a steakhouse dedicated to dry-aged meats cooked atop smokeless grills at each table. Upon reopening, Back will lean into the steakhouse’s original Korean barbecue themes with a new menu of classic and modern Korean dishes, banchan, soups, noodles and a range of marinated premium-cut galbi — among other grill options — plus soju. ABSteak will reopen with hours of 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

8500 Beverly Blvd., Suite 111, Los Angeles, (424) 323-3880, absteakla.com

A man uses a peel to put a pizza into an oven in the back of a van.
Roving pizza oven Speak Cheezy will start serving its sourdough pies in a bricks-and-mortar Long Beach restaurant in the spring.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Speak Cheezy

Mobile sourdough-pizza operation Speak Cheezy has landed a permanent restaurant space. Chef-owner Jason Winters, who is also the longtime caterer behind Urban Pie, began serving freshly baked pizzas out of vans outfitted with ovens this year and in early 2022 will open a bricks-and-mortar version of Speak Cheezy in Long Beach with his wife, Merly Winters. The new Speak Cheezy will serve sourdough pizzas plus salads, focaccia, desserts and possibly dishes such as pasta and dry-aged-beef meatballs. The new restaurant will offer limited on-site dining, along with takeout and delivery, in the former home of Scratch Baked Goods in Belmont Heights. The kitchen will serve as the new home base for the catering and mobile branches of the company and will serve fresh-from-the-oven pizzas, take-and-bake varieties and possibly even a package for home pizza parties that includes par-baked pizzas with rentals of home pizza ovens. The couple hope to open Speak Cheezy in March, running Tuesday to Sunday for dinner and eventually adding lunch service.

3950 E. 4th St., Long Beach, speak-cheezy.com

Gelato festival

The West Hollywood gelato shop opened by the team behind an international Italian dessert competition is about to serve some of the top gelato in the world — at least according to its namesake. The Gelato Festival World Masters Final Competition, held once every four years, is underway, with 33 global competitors duking it out to be crowned the chef with the best gelato recipe. The awards ceremony will stream online Dec. 2, then in early 2022, the top five flavors as decided by the judges will be available in pints via overnight shipping from the West Hollywood gelateria.

8906 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (424) 249-3966, gelatofestival.com

Gelato mushrooms out of a cardboard container that reads "Gelato."
A global gelato competition is underway, and soon, West Hollywood’s Gelato Festival will serve the winning flavors.
(Gelato Festival)

Yess Aquatic Supper Club

Chef Junya Yamasaki’s sustainable-seafood concept, Yess Aquatic, launched as a food truck serving ridgeback prawn banh mi sandwiches, sashimi salads, fish curry plates and more in the Arts District, then closed in October to transition to a full-service restaurant. While the team continues to prepare for the restaurant’s opening, it’s debuting the Yess Aquatic Supper Club: an eight-course tasting menu running select weekends in December. Tickets cost $125 per person, and dishes will include options such as grilled miso-marinated black cod with persimmon and turnip; sake-steamed turban snail with mochi rice; and California seafood tartare made with oyster, rockfish, anchovy and ridgeback prawn. Sake, shochu and cocktails are available a la carte. Dinners held Dec. 11-13 and Dec. 18-20 have sold out since publication, but more dates are to be announced. To reserve seats, email info@yessaquatic.com.

yessaquatic.com

Updates

2:35 p.m. Nov. 30, 2021: Gelato Festival will release its line of winning gelati sometime in early 2022 (as opposed to January, specifically, as previously announced). Yess Aquatic’s first two supper club weekends have sold out since this piece initially published; the restaurant will add more dates in December.


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