SF’s “Arinell Pizza” on Valencia Just Closed After 33 Years
The final day was this past Saturday, September 10th denoted with a sign on the window that said “Closing. Last Day: Sat. Sept. 10th.”
Still want some Arinell?
Visit their Berkeley location
2119 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley
- F-Sat 11am-9pm
- Sun: noon-7:30pm
The New York-style pizza spot which first opened its doors in 1975 in Berkeley, said business has slowed considerably since the pandemic and did not picked up significantly to sustain staying open.
Business slowed to only 30-40% of what it was prior to the pandemic. The drunk munchie crowd is gone. Arinell Pizza on Valencia used to stay open until 2 am on weekends to sling pizza slices to the bar hoppers, but that crowd is gone. They cut back their hours to 9pm on weekdays and 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, but it wasn’t enough.
Arinell Pizza was co-founded by Ron Demirdjian in 1975. His father and grandfather were both bakers in NYC. Ron learned to make pizza from an Italian pizza-maker in his old neighborhood in upper Manhattan. Upon moving to Berkeley in the 70s and learning there was no NY-style pizza here, he opened up his own joint, and has been here ever since. The store in SF, on Valencia, was opened 1989.
Not much has changed at Arinell since then. The pizzas and dough are hand-made, the toppings are simple, just the way it was in Italy–and NY–in the 70s. Ron thinks an unadulterated cheese pizza is “what Arinell is all about,” and if you’re at the store, you might hear him say: “the fewer toppings, the better.”