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Howie's Artisan Pizza expands to Redwood City

Uploaded: May 6, 2015
After five years of serving up pies at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto, Howie's Artisan Pizza owner Howie Bulka decided it was time to serve the city he has long called home: Redwood City.

Bulka opened the second Howie's late last month at 837 Jefferson Ave., just off Broadway Street in downtown Redwood City. (The space formerly housed Tarboosh Mediterranean Cuisine.)

The restaurant is serving the same quality, housemade fare Howie's Palo Alto is known for, from pizza made from dough that rests for two days before being used to sausage, meatballs, dressings, juices and even Bloody Mary mix made in house. Check out the menu here.

Armed with a full bar, there's also wine, beer and several tantalizing-sounding cocktails.

The Jefferson Avenue space also boasts a large 80-seat outdoor patio that opens to the "Paseo" adjacent to the historic Redwood City post office.

"As a longtime resident of Redwood City, Howie hopes that Howie's Artisan Pizza will grow to become a neighborhood rendezvous, where everyone is welcome and can come
to enjoy good wholesome food and top quality cocktails at a reasonable price," a press release from the restaurant reads.

Before finding his artisan pizza success in Palo Alto, Bulka was the executive chef for the now-shuttered fine-dining French restaurant Marche in Menlo Park. Marche had been named one of the top 25 restaurants in the Bay Area by the Michelin guide and received three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle.

He opened the first Howie's in 2009, putting artisan pizza on the map locally (see Common Sense's comments below for earlier pioneers in the Bay Area). Reminisce with this 2010 Palo Alto Weekly review: The new pie in town.

The new Howie's is open Monday through Sunday for lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner 5 to 9:30 p.m.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 6, 2015 at 10:25 am

Elena: Howard Bulka might have applied the _word_ "artisan" to his very creditable pizzas before "artisan" became a trendy (and sometimes empty) cliché, but the substantive idea of quality craftsmanlike pizzas with old-world influence is hardly something he can be credited with "putting on the map!"

A16 in San Francisco is among the pizzerias already recognized for authentic Naples style (by the strict trade group AVPN Web Link ), years before Howie's opened. And Berkeley's Chez Panisse Café had popularized pizzas with free-format seasonal toppings and slow-risen crusts before you were born.

Posted by Elena Kadvany, education reporter of the Palo Alto Weekly,
on May 6, 2015 at 10:32 am

Elena Kadvany is a registered user.

Common sense: You're absolutely right; thank you for making those points. Perhaps on the map in Palo Alto or on the Peninsula is more accurate -- I was thinking locally.

Posted by Bob McGrew, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows,
on May 7, 2015 at 2:01 pm

It's great to see so many good restaurants going to Redwood City, which was pretty dead ten years ago. It would be even better to see more new restaurants coming to downtown Menlo Park, which is pretty dead today. :)

Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on May 7, 2015 at 2:23 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Yam, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on May 7, 2015 at 4:31 pm

Howie's pizzas are often oddly shaped. I've mentioned this to them a few times, especially, when pizza looked semi-round on one side and like puffy clouds on another. They have their usual response to my observations/comments, stating that theirs is an artisan pizza. I would say more like pizza made not by an artisan but by an untrained teenage pizza spinner who is afraid to spin the pizza several times to achieve circularity.

Good luck in RWC.

Posted by MV Resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 8, 2015 at 10:13 am

While the aesthetics of a circular pizza are important, more importantly, it ensures that the dough of an even thickness. Misshapen or oval hand-thrown pizzas usually mean the dough is of uneven thickness which results in uneven baking.

That's the key point of hand-tossing round pizzas. The pizzeria employees can't make the excuse for misshapen pizzas that "it's artisan" precisely because of the baking issue.

Posted by Common sense, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Trying maybe 20 Howie's pizzas in Palo Alto since the place opened, what stood out to me was general quality. Those were GOOD pizzas. I doubt any of my companions remembers the exact shape of the pizzas. That's surely a niche complaint.

Also, "tossing" isn't essential at all to good, artisanal, or even uniformly round handmade pizzas. Pizzerias certified for Naples authenticity by the AVPN trade group (linked earlier) may roughly pat the dough blob to flatten it, then stretch it to final shape on an assembly surface, before moving it to a pizza peel (paddle) for sliding off into the brick oven. AVPN allows some latitude in diameter, but if you watch closely at Napoletana Pizzeria in MV (the place that initiated the modern trend of VPN pizzerias on the peninsula), the proprietor makes them evenly round by stretching, not tossing/twirling.

The peninsula even had a very early VPN pizzeria (in Palo Alto or thereabouts) -- 2004? -- I don't recall the name. It didn't last. Possibly the local market wasn't ready for it, and that is what has changed in recent years.

Posted by MV Resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 8, 2015 at 4:01 pm

I think Common sense is right. Tossing the pizza isn't required to make it evenly thick. The pizzaiolo can carefully shape the dough by hand. Tossing is mostly for show, I presume, although a well tossed dough should be round and even.

Posted by J, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks,
on May 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm

We went the other night. There are a few price discrepancies where Palo Alto is dare I say, Cheaper ($9 meatball sub in PA, $11 in RWC).

They really need a kids' menu. Spending $18 for a cheese pizza, even $12 stinks.

My husband ordered a $12 burger + $2 Avocado + $3 side salad = $17! When my husband asked what his burger came with, the waiter told him he could order a side of fries or a side salad. My husband added the salad. I am looking at the menu online now and see that it was supposed to COME with fries. He got an empty plate with a burger to the left, complete with onions that he asked to be held (the kitchen's mistake), and we waited forever for waters. My husband also got his burger quite a while before we saw our pizza.

Our waiter was very nice, but new. We vaguely remember some lunch specials at the T & C one that we used to buy for our kids. I hope those are implemented. If the menu doesn't evolve, we won't be back to this Howie's. We'd rather go to Vesta for he price for artisan pizza, or Left Bank for their burger.

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