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Former Picco Chef Leaves Larkspur For A New Challenge

Pizzalina, due to open in San Anselmo this month, boasts a menu that includes homemade mozzarella, gluten-free pizzas and local wines.

Former Picco Chef Leaves Larkspur For A New Challenge Former Picco Chef Leaves Larkspur For A New Challenge Former Picco Chef Leaves Larkspur For A New Challenge


San Anselmo's Louise Franz has had her fingers in the dough for some time. A certified pizzaiola (by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana in Naples, Italy) Franz can count on her skills acquired over years of practice to know when her dough will rise and her cheese will melt.  But even her extensive pizza experiences at Picco in Larkspur and Rosso in Santa Rosa couldn’t have prepared her for the challenges with building her own restaurant from scratch. 

“The last couple of weeks I’ve been asking myself, “What the heck was I thinking?””  Despite the frustrations that naturally come with these types of projects, Franz is more than pleased that her build-out is proceeding on time, albeit slightly over budget.  But when it comes down to thinking about how she got to this point, Franz says, “I’ve been in this my whole life.  This is what I am meant to do.” 

Franz’s dedication to the art of pizza is more than evident when she gives the particulars of the pies that she will be presenting. Pizzalina will offer an adaptation of a Neapolitan style pie.  They will be cooked in wood-fired ovens and they will come in one size, about 12 to 14 inches. 

Franz has also uniquely combined natural wild yeast strains from Naples and Sicily. A pizza dough made with these natural yeasts are not only more flavorful but more easily digestible than your typical commercial doughs.  Conscious of the trend toward non-gluten products, Pizzalina will also be offering a non-gluten pie as well.  Another distinctive aspect of Franz’s pizzas will be that they will be topped with their own homemade mozzarella. 

Pizzalina will also have an extensive presentation of wines.  Sean Crowley, formerly a managing partner of the Hayes and Vine Wine Bar in San Francisco, is also Franz’s brother and is lending a hand with the selection.  “We will be featuring local wines as well as Italian varietals from the Campania region.”  Franz says they will be presenting some popular local brews as well. 

After four years of searching for the right location Franz settled on the Red Hill Shopping Center in San Anselmo.  Pizzalina will be taking half of the space formerly occupied by a Round Table Pizza restaurant.  Another restaurant is currently in negotiations to take the other half of the space.  It’s possible that both will share common restroom facilities.  If everything stays on schedule, Franz will have her fingers back in the dough by months end.

Until San Anselmo's newest pizzeria opens, you can stay up to date with Franz's efforts on her blog, which includes a mix of what Franz categorizes as "before and after pictures, funny antidotes, hair-pulling rants, praise, prayer and swearing (not necessarily in that order), recipes, invitations and special gifts." 

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