It has been four and a half years since Jeff Krupman, known as PizzaHacker, created the "Frankenweber"--a tricked-out kettle grill--and started baking pizzas in random corners of San Francisco.
Now the PizzaHacker has gone electric.
In October, Krupman took over a Peruvian restaurant in Bernal Heights. Before a not-so-surreptitious soft opening in December (thanks, food blogs), he repainted the walls with chalkboard paint, installed orange picnic tables and draped multicolored Christmas lights from the ceiling. Now PizzaHacker, the restaurant, feels like an indoor biergarten.
PizzaHacker's menu board
In place of the Frankenweber, the restaurant has an electric Baker's Pride oven. It may not be as romantic-sounding as a wood-fired one, but Krupman says, "It goes up to 930 degrees, which is way more heat than I want."
The crust certainly comes out attractively puffy and crisp, charred bubbles blossoming over its surface. Krupman bases his naturally leavened dough on Tartine Bakery's; a little whole wheat gives it a subtle nuttiness.
The crust alone earned our benchmark pie, the Top Shelf Margherita ($16), high marks. Krupman's hacking the toppings, too, and we enjoyed the seasonal Winter Pie ($17) with bacon, Brussels sprouts and a winter-dispelling dose of chile paste.
For all the extra work of owning a restaurant, Krupman sounds relieved. "It's a lot more enjoyable," he says, comparing it to his former peripatetic existence. "Especially on cold, rainy nights."
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