San Francisco’s buzz-based lexicon is at the grim point that anytime someone mentions “hacker” or “maker” or “maple bacon cupcake” with even a touch of sincerity, you have to push the vomit back down your throat and flee from the conversation while giving your ears a vulgarity-laced enema.
And it this very reason I feel bad for PizzaHacker. When Jeff Krupman dubbed his business “PizzaHacker” back in 2009, the word was yet to be corporatized into soothing meaninglessness, and his then street food setup was completely cobbled together (as anyone privy to his old operation can tell you, his “FrankenWeber“—a 22.5 inch Weber grill modded to be a 1000F degree wood-burning oven—was damn impressive).
So Krupman has some legitimate claim to the word, and we can appreciate why he kept the name when he moved into a permanent location at the foot of Bernal Heights two months back.
The new restaurant is certainly worth a visit. With wooden picnic tables and strung-up Christmas lights, it’s hard to escape the feeling that you’re eating in a monied private school’s attempt at an inconspicuous high-school cafeteria—yet, somehow, it works.
PizzaHacker’s pizza itself is some of the best around. The sauce is the right combination of sweet and tangy, there’s ample cheese, and the dough, created from a process pioneered by Tartine, gets the job done. My only complaint is that PizzaHacker treats salt as a topping, and it’s so prevalent on the crust, it’s hard to taste anything else.
Alas, they charge $15 for what amounts to a personal pizza. Normally this would cause me to clutch my heart and leave the restaurant, but having lived in the Mission long enough, I’ve become immune to this line of outrageousness. San Francisco! $15 pizza! Life goes on.
PizzaHacker: 3299 Mission @ 29th.
[Interior photo by KQED]