Stella Barra Pizzeria Opens Thursday With California-Style Pies

A taste of Los Angeles dining in North Bethesda.

Stella Barra opens with Cali-style pies and an LA feel. Photograph courtesy of Stella Barra.

The newest addition to North Bethesda’s growing Pike & Rose development is here. Stella Barra Pizzeria, a pie joint from chefs Jeff Mahin and Francis Brennan of the Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants, opens Thursday with California-style pizzas and seasonal fare.

So what is Cali pizza? It’s less of a physical style, like Chicago deep-dish, and more about the ingredients and look of the eatery. The menu of thin-crust pies are made with flour milled in the Golden State, and topped with the likes of house-made pork sausage and fennel pollen, or prosciutto, chilies, and a runny egg. The meatless crowd can do well with a version heaped with kale and roasted garlic or shaved mushrooms and Gruyère, plus a section of seasonal vegetables prepared five ways, such as “wild” or “roasted.” There’s also a “thin sin” (a.k.a. extra-slim crust) option for the carb counters.

The warehouse-like eatery sits next to sister restaurant Summer House Santa Monica and, like its breezy sibling, adopts a West Coast aesthetic—here more Los Angeles than beachfront real estate. Think brick walls and wood-paneled floors, leather couches, and bicycle-themed wall decor, including a mounted Shinola cycle.

Stella Barra Pizzeria. 11825 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda; 301-770-8609. Open daily at 5.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.