Pizza City Fest rolls into LA Live this April

LOS ANGELES — It’s telling that the last delicious bite of pizza Steve Dolinsky enjoyed was in Los Angeles. Crafted from dough made with dried seaweed broth and topped with kimchi and bulgogi, the slice from Pi’ L.A. had “a beguiling flavor that you don’t find anywhere else.” 

Dolinsky would know. The James Beard Award-winning food reporter has written two books about pizza, hosts a weekly podcast and launched an entire food festival to celebrate it in Chicago last year.

His sold-out Pizza City Fest is now heading to LA, where 40 SoCal pizza restaurants will serve up slices at L.A. Live in April.

Apolonnia’s is one of several LA pizzerias participating in Pizza City Fest at LA Live this April. (Photo courtesy of Pizza City Fest)

“Every time I’ve been to LA to visit friends, there’s another new great pizza place,” Dolinsky told Spectrum News 1. “They’ve adapted their local cultures to make their own kind of LA style.”

Some of the cultures that will be presented in the form of pizza include California and its seasonal produce from Venice-based Double Zero and grandma-style Italian soul food from De La Nonna downtown. 

Pizza from Folks. (Photo courtesy of Pizza City Fest)

Like a lot of Americans, Dolinsky grew up eating pizza. He’s since experienced it all over the world. 

“I’m attracted to the nuance, the sort of textual components and the differences — how some doughs are heavier or lighter than others — and all these different baking materials, whether it’s wood fired or electric or coal fired. I just find it endlessly fascinating,” he said. 

Pizza from Long Beach Bread Lab. (Photo courtesy of Pizza City Fest)

Running from 1 to 5 p.m. April 29 and 30, Pizza City Fest general admission tickets let visitors roam the 40,000-square-foot space for four hours. VIP ticket holders are allowed in one hour early. Each ticket includes 12 tastes of pizza from 20 presenting pizzerias. Salads, desserts and drinks are also part of the tasting menu.

Starting at $95, daily tickets go on sale Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. for American Express card members. Public ticket sales open Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. 

Pizza from Apollonia’s. (Photo courtesy of Pizza City Fest)

Pizzerias that will serve up sample slices hail from Santa Barbara to San Diego and all points in between. Saturday’s participating LA pizzerias include LaSorted’s in Silver Lake, L’Antica in Hollywood and Pi’ L.A. downtown, along with panel discussions about dough and how to make the perfect pan pizza.

“Ever since COVID, people have been baking at home,” Dolinsky said. “I just feel like it’s good to teach people some things that they can use at home and not just stuff your face with pizza all day.”

Sunday’s LA pizzerias include Bagel & Slice in Glassell Park, Cosa Buona in Echo Park and Gorilla Pies in Valley Village, along with panel discussions about how to make great pizza at home, how to build a pizza brand and what is LA style pizza.

“We want to highlight the places that I think are really doing something unique and delicious,” Dolinsky said of Pizza City Fest, “whether it’s Detroit style or grandma style or LA style.”