Margherita and pineapple pizzas from Wood Oven Pizza. Photo courtesy Wood Oven Pizza.
Raised in Argentina, sisters Cecilia Lee and Elizabeth Wong grew up in a country filled with high-quality pizza. Inspired by making wood-fired pizzas at home, Lee and Wong recently opened Wood Oven Pizza in downtown Palo Alto.
After attending the University of Pennsylvania, Lee and Wong eventually settled in the Bay Area. Lee built a career teaching in the Fremont Union High School District, and Wong is a local developer.
Wong had a wood-fired oven constructed at her home, and friends and family enjoyed her homemade pizza. Motivated by Argentinian and European chefs who dedicate themselves to perfecting a specific dish, Wong decided to turn her hobby into a business. She imported a wood-fired oven from Italy and installed it at one of her real estate properties on Ramona Street. Wong then enlisted the retired Lee, who once operated a pizza restaurant in Sunnyvale, to manage the business.
“It’s fun, we’re old of age but doing something that we like,” Lee says.
The imported pizza oven in Wood Oven Pizza's open kitchen. Photo courtesy Mira Photography.
Lee describes Wood Oven Pizza's style as “a combination of American and Italian Neapolitan." The menu has two sections: white pies offered with creamy white bechamel sauce and red pies topped with tomato sauce. All of the pizzas are formed on a base of bubbly dough made with a recipe from Italy. The restaurant prides itself on simplicity and high-quality ingredients. Lee is enthusiastic about the menu's two pesto options, one of which is topped with mushrooms, spinach, soft ricotta cheese and Parmigiano.
Customers can add red onions, olives, jalapenos or garlic to any pizza for no extra charge and receive a discount if ordering additional pizzas to take home. Wine, beer and sodas accompany the pizza offerings.
Lee recognizes that the pies, almost all of which cost $29, are premium products. She wants customers to feel that they have paid an appropriate price for carefully sourced ingredients and attentive service. “I just want my customers to feel the way I wanted to feel after I went to a restaurant,” Lee says.
Wood Oven Pizza, 532 Ramona St., Palo Alto, 650-494-4241. Open 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5 to 8:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.) Closed Mondays.
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