Yesterday we told you about Ragazza, the new pizzeria scheduled to open next week at 311 Divisadero. We were invited over to Ragazza this afternoon for a sneak peek inside the restaurant, and we must say, it left us impressed. And hungry.
The interior of the space has been drastically transformed from its previous incarnation as Metro Cafe/Kathmandu/District 5/etc. Chef Sharon Ardiana and company have installed black walnut tables and adorned the walls with family photos to create a stylish but completely comfortable atmosphere.
A giant photo (above) of Ardiana’s relatives, including her grandmother (fourth from left), dominates one wall of the space, and uses WhisperArt soundproofing to help keep the restaurant quiet.
Ardiana poses next to a childhood photo of herself that overlooks the main dining area.
In the photo above, the hanging lights (right) are made from filament bulbs encased in WECK asparagus jars. The yellow canisters on the top shelf (rear) come from The Other Shop a few doors down. And the wall on the left is composed of volcanic red tiles from Sausalito’s own Heath Ceramics.
And then there’s that oven on the right. Ardiana’s girlfriend located the 5,000 lb beast way down south in Long Beach via Craigslist, and then had it trucked up to San Francisco. This oven is a big upgrade from the one in Ardiana’s other location, Gialina, providing greater temperature consistency and much bigger volume. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why Ardiana is considering Ragazza “Gialina’s big sister.”
They’re planning to roll out usage of the back patio some time in the future, as the restaurant settles into a post-opening groove. Ardiana envisions the space not only accommodating diners, but folks enjoying glasses of wine while they wait to be seated. Mindful of the neighboring tenants and guests at the Metro Hotel, however, she wants to make sure that the space is managed respectfully.
We were also able to take a glance at the menu. While it’s still a work in progress, there’s plenty on here to be optimistic about.
How about starting with a beet and avocado salad with ruby grapefruit, arugula and goat cheese? Or maybe little toasts with pork belly, tomato, garden lettuces, and balsamic syrup? Then move on to the braised short rib sugo or the pork osso bucco?
Or heck, just go for the pizzas. There’s a pizza with squash blossoms, white corn, chilies, and truffle cheese. There’s a pizza with heirloom tomatos, bacon, mozzarella, basil, and wild arugula. There’s a pizza with potato, bacon, red onion, thyme, and Taleggio cheese. And sure, there’s a margherita.
Ragazza is hosting small invite-only events over the next 3 nights as they finalize their preparations and menu for their anticipated Wednesday night opening. They won’t be taking reservations, so on busier nights diners will be encouraged to visit local businesses while waiting for their tables.
By the looks of things, we think the wait will be worth it.