Menlo Park diners will soon see for themselves if Amici's East Coast Pizzeria is really "The best pizza east of New York," as the pizza chain claims, when it opens in downtown Menlo Park on Monday, May 11.
This will be the twelfth Bay Area location of Amici's, which is located in the former Dal Baffo restaurant site at 878 Santa Cruz Ave.
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant will have covered outdoor dining and delivery service, according to Peter Cooperstein, co-founder with Mike Forter of the San Mateo-based chain. The Amici's Web site describes the founders as "Two East Coast transplants longing for the style pizza they grew up with." It also notes that the restaurant's pizza and pasta sauces are based on "Peter's grandmother's recipes."
Amici's pizzas are baked in brick ovens directly on the hot brick floor, resulting in a crisp crust that is darker than the typical American crust. Varieties range from a simple New York (mozzarella and tomato sauce) to the Trentino (mozzarella, parmesan, crumbled feta, baby spinach, red onions, pancetta, herbs and Meyer lemon olive oil).
The pasta entrees include four cheese lasagne, cheese ravioli, baked penne parmigiana with eggplant, and several kinds of pasta with a choice of marinara, meat, Alfredo, pesto, clam, and primavera sauce.
Caesar salad, spinach salad, tomato stuffed with tuna salad, and garden salad are among the side choices. Antipasto with salami, pepperoncini, kalamata olives and mozzarella may be added to the garden salad and serves three to four people.
Vegetarian minestrone, New York cheesecake and tuxedo cake round out the menu. Beer and wine will be available.
Property owner Sophie Lo said Amici's has signed a 10-year lease with options for additional years.
A resident of Menlo Park since 2004, Ms. Lo said she was a fan of Amici's pizzas when living in Burlingame. "This is one of my favorite restaurants and I'm so glad they deliver," she said.
Ms. Lo is the founder and president of Sound Perfection, 700 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. She bought the Dal Baffo property in 2005, but getting a tenant has been a challenge. In 2007, alcohol retailer Beverages & More gave up on plans to open a store on the site, and last year the pharmacy chain Pharmaca dropped plans to open a store at the location.