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

Getting deep at The Shop: Pizza + Cocktails

“West coast deep-dish” means chunky tomatoes and cornmeal crunch in Rancho Bernardo

A personal "west coast deep-dish" pizza, made with cheese on the bottom and thick, chunky sauce on top
A personal "west coast deep-dish" pizza, made with cheese on the bottom and thick, chunky sauce on top

“West coast deep-dish.” The very idea provided reason enough to hop in the car and drive to North County. The Shop: Pizza + Cocktails has been at it a couple years now, slinging pies out of a stylishly assembled corner of the Rancho Bernardo Town Center, graced by a large, comfy dining patio.

Place

The Shop: Pizza + Cocktails

11967 Bernardo Plaza Dr, San Diego

The Town Center is a fairly standard, if somewhat upscale, suburban shopping center, where The Shop sits roughly between a Von’s and a CVS. However, equipped with a full bar, replete with aged spirits, and a similarly robust wine menu, this is a more adult pizza joint than we ever saw in the ‘burbs growing up.

But that’s not to say it isn’t family friendly. I brought a couple young summer vacationers along, and even our dog. The kids did not share my interest in finding out what west coast deep dish was all about, but that’s fine, because The Shop is good enough to offer two styles of pie. Kids can enjoy their usual pepperoni on traditional (read: thin) crust, while grown-ups dig into something heftier.

The Shop operates within an upscale suburban shopping center.

Traditional or deep dish, there’s always the option to build your pizza from the ground up, starting at $16. But The Shop offers a handful of signature pies in each style: deep dish specialty pies run $24 (small) and $33 (large), while traditional go for $22 and $30. A couple of the traditional pies employ an olive oil rather than tomato-based sauce, including one topped with roasted chicken and BBQ sauce.

The traditional crust pizza provides an easier way to conquer alternative to deep dish.

But the deep-dish pies are built more like casseroles, each laden with a thick sauce of crushed tomatoes and garlic. Specialty pies employ toppings such as house-made meatballs, crispy bacon, mushrooms, and black olives. A vegetarian option features zucchini, green olives, finished with a drizzle of basil pesto.

It was just me and the kids, and anyone who’s tried to devour a deep-dish pizza knows how heavy one can be. Even that $24 small would be more than I could tackle on my own. Fortunately, during lunch hours — that is, from open until 4pm — you can order a personal pie, whether signature pies ($17 deep dish and $15 traditional) or design your own (starting at $12/10).

A full bar serves cocktails, beer, and wine, in what's also a family-friendly establishment.

With regard to the deep dish, that means a roughly 6-inch pizza, which sounds small, but given it’s nearly an inch and a half deep, it proves at least as filling as a burger and fries.

I went for the so-called “Old Town,” topped with pepperoni, green bell peppers, mushrooms, black olives, onions, and garlic. The pizza could have used more toppings (when isn’t that the case?), so what came across the most were the cheese, tomatoes, and garlic.

So what makes it west coast deep-dish? That’s a good question. Like Chicago deep-dish, the crust is made with a layer of cheese first, then toppings, then a thick helping of sauce across the top. The Shop’s pie reminds me a little of fondly remembered Berkeley Pizza, which used to sling Chicago-style pies out of farmers markets, then over counters in East Village and North Park, prior to shutting down altogether during the pandemic. The chunky tomato sauce is similarly bright, though not quite as flavorful as the Berkeley pies, near-perfect in my memory.

The Shop does include some cornmeal in its crust, which adds additional flavor and a welcome crunch. But that’s something a number of mainstay Chicago pies do.

What the term “west coast deep-dish” might ultimately do is temper expectations.

Calling it Chicago-style pizza always invites the scrutiny of rowdy Windy City natives, and even visited-one-summer converts, who’d likely search for unfavorable comparisons in each bite. But a west coast pie that tastes a lot like Chicago pizza, enjoyed with cocktails or craft beer, al fresco? There’s an idea that’s easy to get behind.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Geezyworld, Point Break at Rooftop Cinema Club, Festival of Books

Events August 18-August 20, 2022
A personal "west coast deep-dish" pizza, made with cheese on the bottom and thick, chunky sauce on top
A personal "west coast deep-dish" pizza, made with cheese on the bottom and thick, chunky sauce on top

“West coast deep-dish.” The very idea provided reason enough to hop in the car and drive to North County. The Shop: Pizza + Cocktails has been at it a couple years now, slinging pies out of a stylishly assembled corner of the Rancho Bernardo Town Center, graced by a large, comfy dining patio.

Place

The Shop: Pizza + Cocktails

11967 Bernardo Plaza Dr, San Diego

The Town Center is a fairly standard, if somewhat upscale, suburban shopping center, where The Shop sits roughly between a Von’s and a CVS. However, equipped with a full bar, replete with aged spirits, and a similarly robust wine menu, this is a more adult pizza joint than we ever saw in the ‘burbs growing up.

But that’s not to say it isn’t family friendly. I brought a couple young summer vacationers along, and even our dog. The kids did not share my interest in finding out what west coast deep dish was all about, but that’s fine, because The Shop is good enough to offer two styles of pie. Kids can enjoy their usual pepperoni on traditional (read: thin) crust, while grown-ups dig into something heftier.

The Shop operates within an upscale suburban shopping center.

Traditional or deep dish, there’s always the option to build your pizza from the ground up, starting at $16. But The Shop offers a handful of signature pies in each style: deep dish specialty pies run $24 (small) and $33 (large), while traditional go for $22 and $30. A couple of the traditional pies employ an olive oil rather than tomato-based sauce, including one topped with roasted chicken and BBQ sauce.

The traditional crust pizza provides an easier way to conquer alternative to deep dish.

But the deep-dish pies are built more like casseroles, each laden with a thick sauce of crushed tomatoes and garlic. Specialty pies employ toppings such as house-made meatballs, crispy bacon, mushrooms, and black olives. A vegetarian option features zucchini, green olives, finished with a drizzle of basil pesto.

It was just me and the kids, and anyone who’s tried to devour a deep-dish pizza knows how heavy one can be. Even that $24 small would be more than I could tackle on my own. Fortunately, during lunch hours — that is, from open until 4pm — you can order a personal pie, whether signature pies ($17 deep dish and $15 traditional) or design your own (starting at $12/10).

A full bar serves cocktails, beer, and wine, in what's also a family-friendly establishment.

With regard to the deep dish, that means a roughly 6-inch pizza, which sounds small, but given it’s nearly an inch and a half deep, it proves at least as filling as a burger and fries.

I went for the so-called “Old Town,” topped with pepperoni, green bell peppers, mushrooms, black olives, onions, and garlic. The pizza could have used more toppings (when isn’t that the case?), so what came across the most were the cheese, tomatoes, and garlic.

So what makes it west coast deep-dish? That’s a good question. Like Chicago deep-dish, the crust is made with a layer of cheese first, then toppings, then a thick helping of sauce across the top. The Shop’s pie reminds me a little of fondly remembered Berkeley Pizza, which used to sling Chicago-style pies out of farmers markets, then over counters in East Village and North Park, prior to shutting down altogether during the pandemic. The chunky tomato sauce is similarly bright, though not quite as flavorful as the Berkeley pies, near-perfect in my memory.

The Shop does include some cornmeal in its crust, which adds additional flavor and a welcome crunch. But that’s something a number of mainstay Chicago pies do.

What the term “west coast deep-dish” might ultimately do is temper expectations.

Calling it Chicago-style pizza always invites the scrutiny of rowdy Windy City natives, and even visited-one-summer converts, who’d likely search for unfavorable comparisons in each bite. But a west coast pie that tastes a lot like Chicago pizza, enjoyed with cocktails or craft beer, al fresco? There’s an idea that’s easy to get behind.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Geezyworld, Point Break at Rooftop Cinema Club, Festival of Books

Events August 18-August 20, 2022
Next Article

Bertran de Born: a Provencal troubadour who composed both love and political songs

The Lord of Oc and No
Comments
1
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
July 9, 2022

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close