New Roman-style pizzeria to open in Berkeley

A90 will specialize in Roman-style pizza which is typically very thin-crusted. Photo: theob/CC

A hotel development and design group has chosen downtown Berkeley to launch its first restaurant, a high-end Roman-style pizzeria called A90. (Update, Jan. 2013: the restaurant has since been renamed Build.)

A90 will be located at 2286 Shattuck Avenue, on the corner of Bancroft Way. The space was most recently occupied by Indian restaurant Pasand Madras, next door to the recently shuttered Shattuck Down Low music club. Lisa Holt of DLS Hotels & Spas said work has begun on the building and they hope to be open by the spring.

DLS Hotels & Spas, whose projects include Milliken Creek Inn & Spa and Hotel Yountville, plans to replicate the A90 concept in other locations, both around the country and globally.

“Berkeley will be our flagship,” said Lisa Holt who is working on the launch in partnership with David Shapiro and the Rustic Restaurant Company. 

The new A90 restaurant will be at 2286 Shattuck Avenue at Bancroft

Holt said the vision is for a Roman-style pizzeria and bar. “In Rome these are community meeting places serving very thin-crusted pizza,” she said. The restaurant’s name refers both to the ringroad that surrounds Rome and to the fact that Roman-style pizzas can be made quickly, sometimes in 90 seconds. ”They are super fresh and super quick”, Holt, who lived in Italy for several years, said. The restaurant will be sourcing its ingredients locally as much as possible, she added.

As for the choice of Berkeley as a launchpad, Holt says the city’s food heritage made it the perfect location. ”Berkeley is known throughout the world for pioneers like Alice Waters and its food movements. Farm-to-table is part of the Californian consciousness  We want to take that to areas of the country that don’t have that knowledge,” she said.

Downtown Berkeley, and Shattuck Avenue in particular, has seen a surge in new restaurants this year, spearheaded by the fashionable Mexican eatery Comal which opened in April. Other relatively new spots, like PIQ Bakery and Café on Shattuck Square and Phil’s Sliders across the street, have developed loyal and substantial clientèles. Italian ravioli specialist Belli Osteria opened next door to Comal at 2016 Shattuck Avenue last month and is garnering good reviews. Lucille Poskanzer, who compiles the Restaurants in the Berkeley Area guide, tells Berkeleyside the food is “delicious and moderately priced, and the noise level low.” And the ravioli? “House made, expertly sauced, and perfectly cooked. It’s definitely worth a try.”

This story is also published on Berkeleyside NOSH, our brand new food section covering Oakland and Berkeley, launched yesterday. If you’re interested in local food news, bookmark NOSH and follow Berkeleyside NOSH on Twitter, and on Facebook.

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  • Bryan Garcia

    Awesome! That space has been empty for far too long.

  • Aperson

    I wonder if the ghosts of the teenage slave girls smuggled in from India to be enslaved washing dishes without pay at the old Pasand will haunt the new restaurant, the site where they spend their final months trapped in a living hell before dying of asphyxiation at the hands of their owners.

  • emraguso

    Mmmm sounds so good! Never enough pizza.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    The atrocities of Pasand are indeed a terrible memory.  But do you really think it’s necessary to lay that on the building?  The fault lies entirely with people — Reddy — and not with some haunted structure.  Let’s let the building move on to happier times and reserve the contempt for the actual perpetrators, please.

  • another BUSD parent

    point taken. but if those rapists are benefitting from renting the space out to ohers,  i’m not inclined to go there. Sorry, but that’s how it is for a lot of us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marco-Bianchi/766409700 Marco Bianchi

    I’m Italian and I’ll surely give it a try. One little thing. The name should be GRA instead of A90. Nobody in Rome calls that highway A90. It’s always called by the unofficial name “grande raccordo anulare (GRA). Literaly “Great Ring Junction” 

  • Anonymous

     Weird, I was just talking about this with somebody at work today and he was telling me that it was huge news in India at the time (he’s from India). He was horrified when I told him that Reddy is enjoying life in his new palace up in the hills. Berkeley should be ashamed.

  • PorcelinaGrout

    This new place sounds delicious and I am excited about all the recent restaurant action in downtown Berkeley. Also want to give a shout out to Lucille Poskanzer’s restaurant review web site, mentioned in the article, which has been around forever and is still the best guide to eating out in Berkeley and Oakland. Thank you Lucille Poskanzer!  I use your website all the time.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Does Reddy still own the building?  That does put a different light on it, though it’s complicated:  he should be shunned and yet I’m not willing to see Downtown have more vacancies than it already has.

  • EarlyMorningCoffee

    Don’t know if he owns it, but he is still in Berkeley. http://www.wassusa.com/

  • cabrito

    Wonder why they didn’t think of their own way to name the restaurant rather than just copying what the A16 folks did.

  • Mbfarrel

     Well the building is owned by PASAND COURTYARD LLC,and

    Registered Agent:

    Hanimireddy Lakireddy
    2278 Shattuck Ave
    Berkeley, CA 94704

  • Mbfarrel

    The biggest news story broken by a Berkeley paper that I can remember.
    The BHS Jacket should have won a Pulitzer.

  • another BUSD parent

    Thanks, i won’t be eating there, then.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Possible to list other commercial property owned by this guy? I’d like to understand what a boycott would really encompass.

  • anon

    Holy s*** !
    The Jacket broke that? Wow.

  • anon

    After reading that link, although the restaurant sounds interesting, I think I’ll be avoiding it.

  • anon

    Here is a link with lots of info & links to other info…

    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/05/03/18496749.php

    Also it looks like Everest Properties is owned by them as well as Active Tech.
    It seems important to note that although Lakireddy Bali Reddy was the only one to actually spend significant time in prison, several members of the family were implicated in the case as being actively involved in trafficking women and children as sex slaves. The poor girl who died was 15 and pregnant. 
    Boycotting is not bad enough. 
    I’m ready to break out some pitchforks here.

  • another BUSD parent

    yep, a shining moment for the Jacket and its terrific student reporters. I wonder where they are now!

  • http://berkeleyside.com Tracey Taylor

    When Berkeleyside last checked, in 2009, one of the two key reporters was working at The Washington Post, another at a nonprofit in San Francisco. Read our story here: http://www.berkeleyside.com/2009/12/08/ten-years-later-how-two-berkeley-high-reporters-broke-sex-ring-scandal/

  • another BUSD parent

    thanks for the update, Tracey. What a great start for their careers-doing good and doing well, as my dad would say…