Pavich’s Brick Oven pizza presented so many tiers of obfuscation on this particular Saturday afternoon that I just couldn’t digest all that was presented to me.

San Pedro is a town of beyond history, beyond tradition, beyond blue-collar union workers from the Port of LA/Long Beach. There once was a huge Japanese community here. No shit. There are more “Italian” pizzerias per square mile in San Pedro than anywhere else in LA County – or so I was told. This whole town is a huge WTF. And then there’s Pavich’s.

It’s next to a corner liquor store, and next to a “Baltic” Bakery selling… kid you not, Peruvian alfajores / cookies.

WTF.

Pavich’s entire store is about as wide as my living room.

WTF.

The menu presents a Crotian, Italian, AND American combination of pizza toppings.

What. The. F**K?

Someone casually mentioned it was LIKE a Neapolitan pie, but not. And like a New York slice, but not.

OK. Had to give up after the last one. This simply had to be eaten. No one else, not even Chowhounder’s, have scoped out this place. After milling about at the Korean Friendship Bell and checking out the kite-flyers (as well as a wedding? Mexican wedding reception? At the Korean Friendship Bell? Say it with me: W.T.F.!?!), the only right thing to do was eat as the locals. South Alma street isn’t exactly San Pedro’s restaurant row. There’s a laundromat, there’s a corner liquor store, there’s tiny baker, and there’s Pavich’s. All were sandwich between Single Family Homes on a perfectly random residential street. Not a strip mall, nor a parking lot in sight. It’s as if we’re getting pizza in Middle of Nowhere Town, NY, USA.

And then the pie came out. Half was Quattro Gusti (tomato sauce, mozz, ham, mushroom, artichoke), the other was The Croatian (smoked beef, mushrooms, fresh yellow pepper, roasted yellow pepper, feta cheese, onions, olives, fresh tomatoes). It’s definitely NOT a Neapolitan pie, NOT NY style pie, nor Chicago deep dish. Majority of the pie is doughy ala Dominoes, but bottom of the crust is clearly reminescent of a Neapolitan baked on a brick oven. The oughter edge of the crust bubbles like a Neapolitan, but is much dough-ier (is that a word) with a very soft chew. It’s a Croatian pie obfuscation. Don’t know how else to describe it. The Croatian topping combo is spot on. For $18 at 18″, there is no better funk & flavor for the dollar. Unfortunately, the crust just escapes me.

It is necessary to go back for the Croatian dishes, majority of which are baked/cooked in the brick oven. There’s something so traditional and… “authentic” about that…

Pavich’s Brick Oven Pizzeria
someone in someone’s backyard
San Pedro, CA
Pavich's Brick Oven Pizzaria on Urbanspoon


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  • Venturing into Croatian cuisine, I see… Keep up the sleuthing TonyC. I like reading tales from San Pedro

    Gastronomer´s last blog post..Bánh Mì & Me in the New York Times

  • Margaret

    nooooooo! you’ve exposed pavich’s, now the whole foodie world’s gonna go check it out. will it be bincho all over again? wtf, indeed!

  • i’ve never seen anything eye-catching in San Pedro haha. i did have this one Croatian/Serbian thing in Chicago – a type of sausage made with chicken/pork/beef and red pepper sauce. it was wildly good.

  • juliegroot

    hi there

    I am happy to have landed here

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  • andrewa

    The “Croatian/Serbian thing(s) in Chicago” are called ćevapčići. They are a mix of meats as you describe (maybe lamb instead of chicken, pork optional) spiced nicely and grilled to perfection. The sausage shape really helps them grill evenly, as you can roll them around a bit. Pavich was limited from making them in the first location but I think he is opening up another restaurant on Western Avenue in San Pedro that will feature ćevapčići along with the pizza. I can’t wait!

  • Take a look at a map, Mr. WTF – Croatia is on the Dalmation coast, a stone’s throw from Italy. Given their similar resources, it’s not that “WTF” that the cuisine is similar.

  • Anonymous

    Appreciate the geography reminder Scott. Understand the Croatian & Italian food relationship. It was the location of the Pavich’s brick-oven pie that invoked the WTF. Los Angeles county, unlike Chicago Cook County, allows very few residential restaurants.

    While San Pedro is known to have the largest Italian & Croatian community in Los Angeles, the combination of tasty Croat pies, on a quaint street with nary a business nor parking, yielded wonderment.

  • ramen maniac

    dude, i’ve been hardcore into dalmatian cuisine lately. croatian pizza, specifically the pizza in split, is amazing. and many like it better than in italy. over there, they have more regular toppings combinations – frutti di mare, etc. really fresh seafood. the biggest croatian community in LA is in san pedro. check out ante’s, for old school croatian-american food. although it’s not really anything like you’d find in split.

  • Anonymous

    Lucky bastard for having traveled to Split and sampling Croat pies. I did later find out San Pedro holds the biggest LA Croatian community. How does Pavich’s compare to Split?

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