If Zak Fishman, co-owner of Prime Pizza, had to choose his go-to style of pizza, that slice would come from New York.
Although Fishman grew up on the West Coast — he’s a Tarzana native — and has managed his own popular chain of pizzerias since 2014, his years spent in the Big Apple molded his palate to favor pies from that side of the country.
“There’s so much great pizza out there,” Fishman said Tuesday morning. “I eat our pizza all the time and I love it to death, but the places in New York — Best Pizza, L’industrie [Pizzeria], Scarr’s [Pizza], Patsy’s [Pizzeria] and Di Fara’s at one point — those pizzas are like my Holy Grail, No. 1 in my book.”
It’s that love for a New York slice that inspired Fishman to start Prime Pizza almost six years ago and bring that flavor and experience to Los Angeles.
He opened his first location in the Fairfax District and then a second store in Little Tokyo a few years later.
On Monday, Fishman opened the doors to his third restaurant, located at 603 N. Hollywood Way, to much fanfare.
The site was formerly occupied by Taste Chicago, which closed after 15 years last March.
Like many New York pizzerias, Prime Pizza allows customers to order by the slice — either a triangular or square slice from a quadrant of the pie.
Whole 18-inch pizzas, sandwiches and sides can also be ordered at the restaurant.
Christian Baer, general manager of the Burbank store, said the restaurant had to be closed around 5 p.m. during the grand opening due to an unexpectedly large turnout and not having enough dough.
“We make the dough by hand every day and then it proofs overnight, so we use that dough the next day,” she said. “So when we’re out, we’re out. There was a line out the door almost the entire day, and we tried to make as many pies as we could.”
To further bring that East Coast flavor to Los Angeles, Fishman said he had help developing the dough with Frank Pinello, a close friend and owner of Best Pizza in Brooklyn.
However, Fishman said his philosophy is to always keep improving, and he used that mindset to develop a dough recipe far different from the one they started with six years ago.
“If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse,” Fishman said. “That’s my motto.”
Fishman said he was amazed so many people visited the Burbank store on Monday, and he was even more surprised by the number of customers who live in the surrounding neighborhood.
“If 200 people came yesterday, 180 of them had to be from Burbank,” he said.
“We had people telling us that they lived two or three blocks away, and that’s what you want when you open a pizzeria, at least for us. We are a neighborhood pizzeria. We’re not trying to be a destination spot,” he added.
Prime Pizza is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For more information, visit primepizza.la.