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The heart, and chicken parm, of Sisters Pizza

A beloved sibling memorialized at Hillcrest eatery

Family photos, and a slice of chicken parm pizza
Family photos, and a slice of chicken parm pizza

I heard about a place that uses chicken parmesan as a pizza topping. Lucky I did, because Sisters Pizza operates in a part of Hillcrest I don’t normally go looking for restaurants. It’s a stretch of Fourth Avenue people go to find private practice lawyers, CPAs, and health practitioners, not pizza by the slice.

Place

Sisters Pizza

3603 Fourth Ave, San Diego

And serve by the slice it does, though to describe Sisters that way feels as if I'm underselling it. The place feels like more than a mere pizza counter, and not just because it serves hot sandwiches, salads, and a handful of pasta dishes. Sitting on a corner spot, in a charming, Mission-style building with terra cotta shingles and large front windows, the storefront is framed by a dining patio distinguished by planters and green shades. It’s the sort of place you’d want to hang out, the sort of restaurant you’d want in your neighborhood, within walking distance.

Large meatballs, serves a la carte, on a sub, or over spaghetti

But it’s inside where you’ll discover how much love truly went into this place. Friend and family photos hang in frames throughout the restaurant, and if you look at them closely, you’ll see many of them depict cherished moments in the life of Kate Green, the proprietor’s departed older sister. According to the Sisters web site, “[Kate’s] younger sister, Emily, decided to open a community-focused pizza restaurant in her honor.”

A corner location in the professional part of Hillcrest

The tribute tugs at the heartstrings, no doubt. Here I see an adorable shot of the two sisters posing together as children. Elsewhere they are teens, then on again into adulthood, their hairstyles changing but never the bond. But the smiling and happy memories depicted in those photos mostly lend a sense familial warmth, a hominess to the small restaurant.

The Sister's salad at Sister's Pizza

As if on cue, the first members of a birthday party trickle into the place. But now, I’m a little distracted because my $3.50 slice of chicki chickie parm parm has arrived. That’s the pizza topped with strips of breaded chicken and basil. The server delivering to my table brings plastic ramekins of ranch dressing, because a lot of people like to dip this pizza. He also gives me a spicy aioli, because that’s where some prefer to dip the outer crust.

Sisters makes good pies. They call it East Coast style, meaning the large slices on a thin crust. When I order a whole 16-inch pepperoni ($19) through a delivery service, it’s got those small, coin-size sliced of pepperoni, which tend to curl up and char at the edges. It goes over great with my friends.

They make huge, nearly tennis ball-size meatballs, serving them on a sandwich ($13.50), on spaghetti ($16), or just on a plate, sitting in a pool of marinara, topped with melted mozzarella and a dusting of parmesan. To balance the health appeal of my meal, I order the Sisters salad ($12), which tops chopped romaine and tomatoes with avocado, roasted corn, and “blistered edamame.” It’s a simple salad, but pretty; glowing with a balsamic glaze and buttery, sesame encrusted croutons. It’s one of three salads — not forgotten — on the menu.

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Family photos, and a slice of chicken parm pizza
Family photos, and a slice of chicken parm pizza

I heard about a place that uses chicken parmesan as a pizza topping. Lucky I did, because Sisters Pizza operates in a part of Hillcrest I don’t normally go looking for restaurants. It’s a stretch of Fourth Avenue people go to find private practice lawyers, CPAs, and health practitioners, not pizza by the slice.

Place

Sisters Pizza

3603 Fourth Ave, San Diego

And serve by the slice it does, though to describe Sisters that way feels as if I'm underselling it. The place feels like more than a mere pizza counter, and not just because it serves hot sandwiches, salads, and a handful of pasta dishes. Sitting on a corner spot, in a charming, Mission-style building with terra cotta shingles and large front windows, the storefront is framed by a dining patio distinguished by planters and green shades. It’s the sort of place you’d want to hang out, the sort of restaurant you’d want in your neighborhood, within walking distance.

Large meatballs, serves a la carte, on a sub, or over spaghetti

But it’s inside where you’ll discover how much love truly went into this place. Friend and family photos hang in frames throughout the restaurant, and if you look at them closely, you’ll see many of them depict cherished moments in the life of Kate Green, the proprietor’s departed older sister. According to the Sisters web site, “[Kate’s] younger sister, Emily, decided to open a community-focused pizza restaurant in her honor.”

A corner location in the professional part of Hillcrest

The tribute tugs at the heartstrings, no doubt. Here I see an adorable shot of the two sisters posing together as children. Elsewhere they are teens, then on again into adulthood, their hairstyles changing but never the bond. But the smiling and happy memories depicted in those photos mostly lend a sense familial warmth, a hominess to the small restaurant.

The Sister's salad at Sister's Pizza

As if on cue, the first members of a birthday party trickle into the place. But now, I’m a little distracted because my $3.50 slice of chicki chickie parm parm has arrived. That’s the pizza topped with strips of breaded chicken and basil. The server delivering to my table brings plastic ramekins of ranch dressing, because a lot of people like to dip this pizza. He also gives me a spicy aioli, because that’s where some prefer to dip the outer crust.

Sisters makes good pies. They call it East Coast style, meaning the large slices on a thin crust. When I order a whole 16-inch pepperoni ($19) through a delivery service, it’s got those small, coin-size sliced of pepperoni, which tend to curl up and char at the edges. It goes over great with my friends.

They make huge, nearly tennis ball-size meatballs, serving them on a sandwich ($13.50), on spaghetti ($16), or just on a plate, sitting in a pool of marinara, topped with melted mozzarella and a dusting of parmesan. To balance the health appeal of my meal, I order the Sisters salad ($12), which tops chopped romaine and tomatoes with avocado, roasted corn, and “blistered edamame.” It’s a simple salad, but pretty; glowing with a balsamic glaze and buttery, sesame encrusted croutons. It’s one of three salads — not forgotten — on the menu.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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