Los Altos's State of Mind opening NYC-inspired pizza shop in Palo Alto | Peninsula Foodist | Elena Kadvany | Palo Alto Online |

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Los Altos's State of Mind opening NYC-inspired pizza shop in Palo Alto

Uploaded: Feb 18, 2020
Inspired by the many slice shops of New York City, the owners of State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria in Los Altos are opening their own take in Palo Alto.

State of Mind Slice House will open later this year at 3850 El Camino Real, where Fowl Play Roadside Chicken closed in December. The location is meaningful for co-owners and brothers Lars and Andrew Smith, who grew up in the surrounding Barron Park neighborhood.


Lars Smith, chef and co-owner of State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria, stretches pizza dough in the downtown Los Altos restaurant. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The Smiths and co-owner Amy Betz opened State of Mind in 2018 with slow-proofed pizza, 90's arcade machines and California beer on tap. They always planned have more than one location, Lars said, and started looking more seriously in the last six months. They were particularly inspired after a trip to New York City last fall to recreate the city's "slice shop culture."

"The new place will be our Californian version of the classic slice shop," Lars said. "We will definitely still be using organic California flour and sauce, featuring local ingredients, and making everything from scratch."

There will be round and square pizzas will be available by the slice and whole, grab-and-go salads and hopefully, beer and wine. The owners will import some State of Mind dishes and introduce some new ones as well.


State of Mind's "grandma pie" is a double-proofed and double-baked pan pizza with mozzarella, organic sauce, pecorino cheese and fresh basil. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Lars, State of Mind’s chef, is a frequent presence on the competitive pizza circuit. The restaurant's "What the Duck" pizza, with duck, pickled cherries and foie gras, won best non-traditional pizza at the International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas in 2017. Most recently, he won the grand prize at the 2019 West Coast U.S. Pizza Cup in December, which means he'll compete for the second time at the World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy, this spring. His winning pie, inspired by his last trip to Parma, featured a 72-hour fermented dough made with organic California wheat, topped with fresh mozzarella, pork cheek braised in Lambrusco, seared mushrooms, a Lambrusco pan sauce, arugula, Parmesan and shaved burgundy black truffles.

The owners hope to be open in Palo Alto later this year after a remodel of the El Camino Real building.
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Comments

 +   11 people like this
Posted by From Chicago, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Feb 18, 2020 at 1:08 pm

I moved from Chicago to Palo Alto in 2010 and still can't find good pizza.

The closest thin crust pizza to being "Good" is Arinells on in SF.

I grew up surrounded by 5 pizza places all of them at least 50% better than then best in CA.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Mario, a resident of another community,
on Feb 18, 2020 at 3:23 pm

Good luck to these guys. I think that 3850 El Camino Real is a challenging location for this kind of business. It's nothing like what they have in Los Altos.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Also from Chicago, a resident of Mountain View,
on Feb 18, 2020 at 11:20 pm

I grew up in Chicago too and moved out here 25 years ago and I agree with the other Chicago poster. I grew up eating Lou Malnati's Deep Dish and Rosati's thin crust and I agree that those places were so much better than anything around here. If you want Chicago style Tavern Style think crust head to Sunnyvale and sample Cicero's Pizza. They have the cracker crust of your Chicago Pizza dreams there. Its been around for generations and current ownership have kept the recipes intact although they incorrectly say it came from New York which it is not. Note the name "Cicero" named after the Chicago neighborhood.


 +   11 people like this
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 18, 2020 at 11:37 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

This sounds very good! I wish these brothers the best -- and we will give the place a try. The Yelp reviews for the Los Altos location are very good too.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Fairmeadow Dad, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Feb 19, 2020 at 6:40 am

Let me first say that finding good pizza in California, as pointed out above by all the Chicago folks, is like one of Hercules' trials...local pizza joints out here just do not measure up. Even I, who grew up in another country, had a couple local pizza joints around me that were better than most of the pizza you find in California.... and it was always so much cheaper than the pizza here. Baffling.

Now, that said, when I discovered State of Mind a few years ago it instantly became my favorite pizza. The crust is amazing (the kind I like anyway. No offense to our Chicago neighbors but I'm not a fan of authentic Chicago deep dish - been to Uno a few times and Due a few times...too much chewing for me), the toppings taste great (their mushroom pizza is absolutely incredible and I'm a huge meat on pizza guy, but I order that mushroom pizza every time) and the price is not bad either. The staffing at S.O.M. is also among the most quick, helpful, and pleasant of any restaurant in this area. Overall, SOM is a fantastic experience for my family.

That Roadside Diner joing location, though...eeeep. It's definitely not a lucky location. I'm happy to hear that SOM intends to use it differently, though - as a slice concept. I will definitely give it multiple opportunities to support it because my family also likes to have take home pizza sometimes and that is a gap in the local market that I want SOM to fill for us.

Looking forward to this!!


 +   5 people like this
Posted by No thick crust, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 19, 2020 at 7:19 am

The Los Altos location is great! It is actually modeled after Boardwalk, a much beloved place from the past for So. Palo Altans...it's also similar to the late Oasis. I agree that the maligned location on El Camino, that has seen the demise of many restaurants, will be a bigger challenge. The space is small and parking is limited. However, other restaurants have thrived in locations that failed for many. Personally, I can't stand carb-bomb Chicago pizza and don't miss that place even a little. Best of luck to the Smith Bros.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by No thick crust, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 19, 2020 at 7:19 am

The Los Altos location is great! It is actually modeled after Boardwalk, a much beloved place from the past for So. Palo Altans...it's also similar to the late Oasis. I agree that the maligned location on El Camino, that has seen the demise of many restaurants, will be a bigger challenge. The space is small and parking is limited. However, other restaurants have thrived in locations that failed for many. Personally, I can't stand carb-bomb Chicago pizza and don't miss that place even a little. Best of luck to the Smith Bros.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by sequoiadean, a resident of Los Altos,
on Feb 19, 2020 at 10:28 am

sequoiadean is a registered user.

Best of luck to State of Mind on their new venture, I'm planning on going to their Los Altos location tonight!

@Also from Chicago,
thanks for the tip on good tavern style pizza. My favorite growing up in Chicago was Home Run Inn. Much better than deep dish if you ask me. My question: If Cicero's does indeed have tavern style pizza, why don't they slice it into square pieces?



 +   12 people like this
Posted by Humble observer, a resident of Mountain View,
on Feb 21, 2020 at 5:15 am

"I moved from Chicago to Palo Alto in 2010 and still can't find good pizza."

"I grew up in Chicago too and moved out here 25 years ago and I agree with the other Chicago poster." (Etc.)

First off, y'all do realize -- don't you? -- that transplants complaining about missing the kind of pizza they liked back home is itself a venerated Bay-Area tradition much older than 25 years (a habit already denounced on the *internet* before then, and acknowledged as embarassing by other Bay-Area residents transplanted from the eastern US). Second, you can always move back! Problem solved. Third, comments griping about lacking, of all things, Chicago-style pizzas here are bizarre (a) so far from Chicago and (b) to an article about a business inspired by *NYC* pizza styles (some New Yorkers consider even Chicago to lack edible pizza). Fourth, pizza is, of course, mainly from Naples (capital of Campania and a town rather older "even" than NYC or Chicago), where the few people who even know that pizza variations exist in NYC or Chicago rightly understand those to be quaint American offshoots of The Real Thing (so no more provincial whining from US "pizza city" transplants, please). Fifth, dozens of different pizza styles are offered in the Bay Area (Naples types included) -- Arinell, which one of the complainers cited above, began in the '70s explicitly to serve by-the-slice demand with what was then, even avowedly, a mediocre product. Sixth, none of the people I've seen whine online about the pizza options "out here" ("out here" bespeaks your personal perspective only: everywhere is equally somewhere) has ever shown any evidence of trying any serious number of the pizza options actually available to them. In the tradition that has evolved for comments to this blog, they love to reject what they've never tried.

And seventh, good luck to this new pizza enterprise, which I will try with interest (*before* judging it)!


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Even More Pizza, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Feb 21, 2020 at 10:13 am

Would be very happy to have Tonys open a Slice House on the Peninsula - Tony you listening?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by MPer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Feb 21, 2020 at 1:04 pm

Yes, please Tony open a slice house in MP. Although when he opened in SOMA (since closed) the pizza wasn't as good as on Union St?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Rather Than COPY, Try Something ORIGINAL, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Feb 21, 2020 at 2:26 pm

Applewood Pizza in Menlo Park made the best pizza crust...they didn't have to copy or emulate anyone else's as theirs was original both in concept & texture.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Beth, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Feb 21, 2020 at 4:52 pm

Very good NYC style pizza can be found at Napoletana at 1910 ECR, Mt. View, open for lunch and dinner. He also serves Italian pastas.

It's not a large space, but the pizza is worth the drive.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Longtime resident, a resident of Meadow Park,
on Feb 21, 2020 at 9:15 pm

I think that former Taco Bell location on El Camino Real could thrive more as a take out and delivery location. They could do land-office business delivering high quality pizzas to the nearby businesses of the Stanford Research Park. But I agree it's not a good site for dining on the premises " far too small of a location.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Longtime resident, a resident of Meadow Park,
on Feb 21, 2020 at 9:22 pm

An FYI for anyone longing for traditional "New York Style" thin crust pizza: "Slice of New York" located in a small strip mall in Sunnyvale on El Camino Real in Bernardo Avenue serves pizza by the slice as good as one would typically find in NYC.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Humble observer, a resident of Mountain View,
on Feb 22, 2020 at 12:22 pm

Yes, A Slice of New York ("ASONY") has specialized in big NYC-style slices for years (since 2006 in SJ, 2011 in Sunnyvale, at the MV border on ECR: Web Link ). Pies (larger than usual around here) are baked whole, then slices reheated on demand (for a crisp crust). I've also done the reheating at home per suggested instructions. A hot skillet with a cover does it very well, the crust bottom becomes crisp and the topping doesn't dry out.

Arinell has offered slices since 1975 (Berkeley) and expanded to SF in the 90s. There are others elsewhere. Yet, whenever a new by-the-slice place opens, people claim it's the first one anywhere in the Bay Area...

PS, Beth: Good tip on Napoletana Pizzeria. However, that's one of the "Neapolitan" places (it's even one of the overeas "True Neapolitan" pizza houses, inspected and certified by the Naples pizza trade group, AVPN). Not a "New-York" pizzeria, though many people who like NYC pizzas will probably enjoy it. And lunch is served there only Fri-Sun, not every day. Standard Naples pizzas are individual-sized and not sliced, but served on a plate with knife and fork, which is the way to do it at Napoletana, though you will get sliced unless you say otherwise (since the "American" pizza traditions always involve slicing). You may notice unsliced pizzas (or pizzas being sliced up as needed) on some tables. (Often with Italian being spoken -- the place is popular with transplanted Italians.) I ate there with a friend just last week, maybe the best pizzas ever tasted at that place in many visits. Some of the best pizzas I've ever had anywhere. (One Margherita, one bianca-al-prosciutto). Doppio Zero (in MV) and Terun on Cal Ave (PA) are Napoletana-Pizzeria imitators: they saw Napoletana's success and eventually they too achieved AVPN status. However of those three Naples-style pizzerias, Napoletana has the most fastidious owner, who is also the cook. It you eat at the counter (near the oven) and pay attention, you'll see him discard maybe one in 20 finished pizzas that doesn't meet his standards. The customers never even know. (He replaces it quickly, since they cook in a minute or two in the hot wood-fired overn.) Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by 70 Is Not The New 40, a resident of Community Center,
on Feb 25, 2020 at 10:00 am

When you get older, eating pizza can become problematic. The massive combination of oil, fat & whey + gluten can really mess with your innards.

I always get a muddy textured stool after eating pizza, prime rib or a cheeseburger. As a result, I have curtailed my consumption of them.

Back in the late 70s, Rosotti's used to crank out a really greasy burger. It's like they never cleaned the griddle. I was in my 20s then & used to get an upset stomach. Third time was the charm...only ate the peanuts there.




 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Brian, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows,
on Feb 25, 2020 at 2:12 pm

Everyone has a different preference for pizza and what some love others hate. I am not a fan of some of the regional pizza's but I have found plenty in this area that are delicious, including State of Mind. I have been going there for a year or more. their pizza is good, the beer selection is great and I love the other food so I will certainly try the slice house.

For those of you that can't find your favorite pizza here you can go back to Chicago/New York/where ever and get it (Lou's will ship direct to you) or you can try your hand at opening your own restaurant that serves it and listen to others complain that it is not as good as they had when they lived there...



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