CONFESSIONS OF A                                                                  
A San Francisco Girl's Down and Dirty Adventures in the Culinary Playground

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Slice of Life (Arinell Pizza -- San Francisco, CA and Berkeley, CA)

I'm not sure, but I think everyone likes pizza. Everyone may not EAT pizza, but you bet your sweet ass that they like it. People like it so much, that they continue to eat it, even when it's shitty. Like most of the pizza here in Northern California.

I don't get it. We have the most amazing food here, but finding an everyday, cheap pizza joint with a quality product is next to impossible. Frou-frou pizza is not hard to come by. But good hardcore dive pizza is harder to find than smooth stretch of Mission street (c'mon Gavin, fix the fucking potholes).

Growing up in the North East, pizza was the fifth food group. So when I arrived in SF, I lamented my loss and just replaced it with burritos. But I never gave up my quest, and after I had lived here for four years, I found my holy grail.

Arinell pizza is where it's at. And fortunately for those of us who are lazy, they've got two locations -- one in SF and one in Berkeley. When we finally found it, we went in to order a slice for trial purposes and then immediately went back in and bought two more.

The San Francisco location is at 16th and Valencia. For the life of me, I cannot understand why after a night of drinking, the yuppie idiots are lined up out the door of the absolutely fucking deplorable Cable Car pizza, while Arinell only has a minor crowd. You guys are jackasses.

Arinell makes pizza east coast style. It's thin, it's got the perfect amount of sauce and a nice blanket of cheese. All of this works together to create a nice little pool of pink grease on top. And it's foldable, like any good slice should be. Conceivably, you can fold it and then eat the whole thing in three bites, although then you aren't really savoring the experience as you should. It's also equally good cold, unlike your ex-girlfriend.

The prices can't be beat. $2 for a cheese slice, more if you want tasty tasty toppings. You can get a soda or a lemonade so you can do the salty/sweet tango with your tastebuds.

The workers there are stoned out their gourd, but they can still do enough math to figure out my order. You can even order it to go (although if it's only a slice, you get a bag instead of a box, and if it's less than a whole pie, you pay for that box).

If you want to get a whole pie, be prepared to order more than you think you need. This pizza disappears faster than your momma's panties on plumber's night out at the local bar.

The Berkeley location is equally good. So you really have no excuse not to try it, you lazy bastard.

So grab hands with your closest friend/lover/cobbler/muffin maker and head on over to Arinell to grab yourself a slice of cheesy goodness. And then call me and tell me how you liked it. C'mon, please??? It's like my porn.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld


Blogger Dennis said...

I grew up in Chicago so of course I like a different style of pizza.

but Arnell's isn't bad.

2/24/2005 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chicago AND New York both have some great pizzas, just different types.

8/11/2005 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you, the food-whore / whore-food which ever combo you prefer, are my new favorite blogger. i '<3' Arinell pizza

9/12/2005 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We drive from West Oakland - 40 minutes round trip to Berkeley - to get this pizza! Simply the best!! And when we're in the city we swing by that location and bring a pie home. A large cheese is gigantic! BEST BEST ever!

9/16/2005 1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Berkeley location is TERRIBLE if you're looking for pizza delivered to your door. They routinely take over an hour to deliver the pizza. And then they've either forgotten part of your order or have made a mistake in their math and have to return to the pizzeria to fix the mistake. If it were authentic new york style pizza it might be worth the trauma, but the crust is mediocre and i'm just not impressed enough with the overall taste/quality of their pizza to put up with the ridiculous delays, overcharged credit cards, and ice-cold food.

12/04/2005 7:27 PM  
Blogger Joy said...


The SF location does not deliver, nor does it take credit cards so consider yourself pampered. This place is all about a hard core experience to eat some great pizza; it's not at all about the service.


12/05/2005 7:13 AM  
Blogger Lucky said...

Should you find yourself in Arizona, drop me a line and I'll take you around to all the good dive pizza parlors.

1/23/2006 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chicago is the only pizza made. NY makes matza crackers with paste. YUCK.

2/09/2006 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am always looking for a good slice, and on five trips to San Francisco, Arinell is the only place that I would call real New York Style Pizza. It was excellent pizza. If you're looking for more good pie, you can check out my blog at or my always in progress New York Pizza Finder at Take care, Tom S.

4/02/2006 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being from NY, I have to agree that Arinell's is the best thing going for Pizza out here. It's crazy how hard it is to get a decent slice, I couldn't find one when I lived in Boston so I'm glad I don't have to go without in SF. Little Star isn't bad if you want Chicago style but it's really not pizza, at least not the way pizza was invented originally. BTW, love the blog!

4/07/2006 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am reading it a year later, but your post made my day. i love arinell's! i started eating it in berkeley, and i practically stopped eating pizza when i moved to DC b/c i missed arinell's so much. now i'm back in SF and thrilled to pieces. ciao...

6/06/2006 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You write very well and provide welcome information regarding East Coast, primarily New England, type restaurants. Why in the world do you feel it necessary to use foul language, especially the "f" word. When I finished reading your blog I was stunned that you were a women using stevadore language. Without that language you would have a class blog. Regardless, thanks for the info I got on another one of your pages re. Old Port Lobster Shack. I'm from Waltham, Ma. and hope you do not take offense but take this as constructive criticism only.

8/19/2006 3:48 PM  
Blogger Joy said...


I do not take offense, but it seems that you do. I have many fine friends writing smut free blogs, you may find them in my blogroll if you are unhappy with the language you find here. I am pleased that my info. was helpful, but I am not sorry for expressing my voice, however offensive it may be.

I write as I do for comic effect, for a change from the usual and because sometimes, the word "fuck" may be the only way to truly get a point across.

What I *do* take offense at is that you seem to have a problem with the fact that I write this way because I am a woman? Would you be writing this comment if this blog were written by a man? I have my doubts.

Words are just words. They only have as much power as you are willing to give them.


8/20/2006 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joy - your prose is like a breath of smoggy new york summertime air. I breathe deep, choke and cough, and smile ear-to-ear.

I too have been dismayed and continuosly dissapointed trying to find pizza out here, since I arrived over a decade ago. Back East pizza (New York or other areas probably made by New Yorkers) is ambrosia. What they pawn off here is more like the box good pizza comes in.

Admittedly, you can get some wonnderful "designer pizza" which is nice once in a while. But what happens when you are simply hungry and want to EAT. SOL.

If I had the time and inclination I'd kidnap a pizza maker from NY and open a joint here. But then, it may not survive given the miseducated tastebuds of the masses. I hope somebody figures out the huge market opportunity - just with transplants alone who would gladly drive 100 miles for a slice. People drive farther for sex - hard to say which is worth the gas more ;)

12/23/2006 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the prude objecting to your epithets. Must never have been Back East where swearing was invented, perfected, and proudly passed on generation-to-generation like fine family heirlooms.

I remember getting initiated into the fine art of cussing (adult style) while working a first job in a machine shop in Detroit. Learning how to read micrometers, you also picked up such niceties as what a "knat's ass" was (1/1000 inch) and a "pussy hair" (1/10,000 inch).

Every other word was "fuck" this and "fuck" that. The workplace had a soundtrack consisting of a nonstop barrage of curses that would cause Lenny Bruce to blush.

This is the other thing that I miss about being Back East, besides the pizza, talking with somebody that can swear properly.

So in answer to your detractor, I will quote the immortal words of acclaimed writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr, "go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut!"

By the way, he was from Indianapolis where they are polite when they swear.

p.s. I forgot to curse in this misssive.

p.p.s. Fuck.

12/23/2006 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I fully agree with you. Arinell is the best NY-style pizza in the Bay. The price has considerably risen since you wrote this post, but the quality is still up there. You can't get a thin greasy slice like it from anywhere else within a hundred miles of SF.

In response to scribstress,

As far as Chicago pizza goes, I also love it. They take the idea of a "pie" to its limits, with the flaky crust and tomato filling. The best example of it is Zachary's.

If you want to talk about bread, California is the place. This has become the home of the meal-turned-pizza. Where else can you find pears, gorgonzola and walnuts -- or clams in a white wine and cream sauce -- on a slice?

I'm still waiting to see the ultimate conglomeration of American staples, "burger" pizza.

8/31/2008 11:12 PM  

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