Pizzanista’s Macaroni & Cheese Pizza Will Have You Begging For More
Written By: Tamara Philips
Photographed By: Victoria Filice
When you think pizza, you may envision the classic, even “old school” pepperoni pizza. Pizza these days has become a whole lot cooler than a couple pepperonis atop some cheese and dough. Imagine combining two of your uber cheesy childhood favorites into one. You may ask, “Is this real life?” We’re here to bring you back down to earth—this indeed is real. It’s Macaroni & Cheese Pizza, the slice that is strutting its stuff at Pizzanista.
This Long Beach and Downtown Los Angeles pizza spot is easily one of the edgiest in the LA foodie scene right now. While the Long Beach location has more residential and family vibes and the DTLA location gives off an industrial and urban feel, both are owned and founded by professional skateboarder, Salman Agah.
And because of Agah’s skateboarding background, this business is not run like an ordinary restaurant. He treats this like he would a skate brand. See for yourself at either location, this pizza brand is all about creating a fun environment where creativity is encouraged. Just don’t forget to have a few local beers while you’re at it.
While it’s always a party at Pizzanista, the partners mean business when it comes to sourcing local and high-quality items to make these Insta-worthy pizza creations. They’re always on the hunt for the best. And for the decadent Macaroni & Cheese Pizza, there’s even a vegan version complete with Follow Your Heart vegan cheese, a Canoga Park-founded company.
Creativity is fostered in all facets at Pizzanista. Agah welcomes all types of creatives to contribute ideas at his pizza shops. For instance, Pizzanista regularly hosts open chef nights, and guests typically have no background in food. “When we do the collab, we offer them to be a guest chef,” Agah says. A recent guest was Elissa Steamer, who is known as one of the first female professional skateboarders. “She actually worked in pizza in NorCal. It’s rare that the person actually works on the pizza [for the event], but we consider it a guest chef because it’s their creation.”
Whether you love cheese or vegan cheese, Pizzanista’s Macaroni & Cheese Pizza is a slice you’ll need to move to the top of your “must try” list to satisfy any cheesy craving you may have.
Q&A With Founder and Co-Owner, Salman Agah
Q: How did you go from professional skateboarder to pizza shop owner?
Salman Agah: I still skateboard, but the transition wasn’t seamless. It wasn’t like I stopped one and started the other. I’ve always had other businesses. I considered having my own skate brand, but I also didn’t see myself having a traditional skate brand. I run and operate it like it would be a skate shop and work with skaters and photographers—it’s a nontraditional way to talk about pizza. I made the decision to go into pizza because it’s fun and the options are endless—similar to skateboarding.
Q: What makes Pizzanista unique compared to other pizza places?
SA: We think about our business differently than a lot of people—to our guests, employees, vendors, partners, etc. We think about all of those stakeholders always. We put a huge emphasis on hospitality. We want to make people feel good—not just because of the food, but the experience as well. And we’re always looking to purify our supply chain—always looking for more sustainable and local providers, which makes the pizza so much better.
Q: Did you come up with idea for the Macaroni & Cheese Pizza. If so, how?
SA: It was a collective effort between Price [Latimer], one of my partners, and I. I had it in my head, but she came up with the recipe. And a lot of times, that’s how we operate. I’ll have an idea, and I’ll look to her [to execute] it. She designed that pizza.
Q: What’s your favorite beer to pair with the Macaroni & Cheese Pizza?
SA: I would definitely pair it with House Beer; it’s a 16-ounce can that’s made in Venice Beach.
Q: When not eating Pizzanista’s awesome creations, what are you craving?
SA: I really like Josef Centeno’s Bar Amá—it’s a Tex-Mex restaurant. That’s one that I really love. I also like Shojin in Little Tokyo, it’s vegan Japanese; and Bestia in the arts district, it’s a very conscientious restaurant.
Sweet Brunch of Mine: For a sweeter version of the classic pizza slice, try the Berries, Ricotta & Orange Honey slice that’s on the brunch menu.
Like Factor: Check out the Instagram account @h0tgirlseatingpizza, which celebrates the glory of all things ladies and their love of ‘Za. Pizzanista has their own Instagram as well, @pizzanista, that highlights what’s new and showcases the rest of their snap-worthy slices.
Slice It Up: Wednesday through Saturday, Pizzanista does an off-menu pizza. A lot of times it’s something that one of the staff members comes up with.
1837 E 7th St
Long Beach, CA 90813
Mac N’ Cheese On a Pizza? You Read That Right!
Tamara is SoCal born and bred with Dutch roots. With an English degree from Vanguard University, she is thrilled to be part of the LOCALE editorial team. She enjoys reading, eating green bell peppers, petting other people's dogs, and cooking/baking while singing into a kitchen spoon to Broadway show tunes.