The eatery, called FIVE50, is to open this spring. The name comes from what’s considered to be the ideal temperature for baking pizzas, 550 degrees.
“I would say it’s 50% pizza and 50% bar,” McClain told me. “We wanted to capture the soul of an East Coast, New York pizzeria and combine it with a fresh, edgy, soulful bar.”
McClain said he has spent the last several months researching what makes a great pizza.
“I have a few extra pounds to show for it,” he said before sharing what he’s learned about the craft.
“To me, a good pizza … is a perfect balance of crust that’s got chew [and] some real character to it, other than just bread. It’s a sauce that’s not too overwhelming.”
To those, the chef will add fine cheeses and the freshest-possible toppings.
“We still retain a forager [at Sage] who travels California from top to bottom weekly, bringing us the various best seasonal produce from small farms. We’d like to carry that through [to FIVE50].”