2The question, what is L.A.-style pizza?, can be as hard to nail down as this city's designated dish. Is it a thin crust with locally farmed ingredients à la Chez Panisse? Is it anything with an avocado thrown on it? Well, Chef Fred Eric wants to settle the issue once and for all, and he's got no reservations about what he believes is the Los Angeles signature slice.
Introducing PI L.A.
PI LA is an homage to food-writer Jonathan Gold, who helped carve out this city's place as a cultural mecca of cuisine. Created by Chef Fred Eric (Fred62, Vida), PI L.A. began as a pandemic project in the backyard but has risen to become a dual brick and mortar operation. The dough is a lighter version of a Detroit-style pizza made with dashi which takes three days to rise. This helps to accentuate the umami flavors which are bright and authentic.
All the "PI’zz" are named after classic cars; a nod to Detroit's car city culture but with an L.A. twist. Chef Fred Eric describes the pizza as using the chassis of a factory-Detroit car but with the customization of Los Angeles.
What to Order
You can order by the square Slice or go with the whole Pi. The menu is broken up into Red, White, and Green Pi options with a special Colab section that rotates monthly. Favorites include the Impala LowRider with mole chicken, pumpkin, and Oaxaca melting cheese and the Love Bug with potato gratin and truffle gruyere - both from the White Pi menu. You also can't go wrong with a classic Lil' Red Corvette which is a red sauce pie with cherry tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Prices average about $5.50 a slice to $20 for a whole pie.
Sandwiches, Salads, and Soups are also available with Avocado and Mediterranean Toasts being the standouts. It all comes down to the bread with these.
Lastly, Must have desserts include a Yuzu Citrus Bar and a Dulce de Leche Brownie among many others.
Wanna know what gives these pi'zz more pizzazz than other pies in town? It's that special Collaborative Pi section that highlights other Los Angeles chefs and tastemakers. It gives guests a chance to try a new pizza every month and also showcases what makes this an L.A. style pizza: great ideas from different backgrounds coming together in a new way.
Be on the lookout for the next collab with Chef Masa from Kagaya in Downtown Los Angeles which features a wagyu topped pizza.
Where to Get it
PI LA has two locations in downtown Los Angeles. The first is their stand-alone at 124 W. 4th Street in DTLA and the second is at The LUME located at 1933 S. Broadway. The LUME is a spot housed in Magic Box L.A. that offers a selection of interactive art exhibits. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the original location. It's the one I recommend if you want a broader menu. Online ordering is also available.
So what is L.A.-style pizza?
It's a pizza that isn't afraid to borrow from other cultures and create a style all its own. It's defined by the residents who call Los Angeles home but didn't always. It's crafted with local produce and is often lighter in texture and toppings.
Do you agree? Leave a comment below with what you think is an L.A. Signature Pie!