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Checklist: Urbano Pizza Bar

By Miles Cotton and Kelli Richardson
Published: Thursday, January 05, 2012, at 05:17PM
Hayley Fox/blogdowntown

Urbano is decorated with simple wood panels, long tables and bar stools. There's also an expansive outdoor patio that lines the sidewalk.



Checklist is a bi-weekly series about Downtown restaurants and bars both old and new that highlights local establishments that succeed in marrying efficient service, quality food, and excellent overall value.

Story

When you have three downtown hotspots, what do you do next? For Michael Leko and William Shamlian, owners of Spring Street, Coffee on Spring and Library Bar, the answer is a pizza bar. Opened in June 2011, Urbano Pizza Bar brings a taste of Naples to Downtown. The once Wolfgang Puck Bistro on the corner of 6th and Hope is now outfitted with a wood-burning pizza oven and serving some of the city’s best wood-fired pizzas, small plates and dessert.

Quotes

“Will and I wanted to do a pizza concept for a number of years. We weren’t actively seeking a place, but heard that the Wolfgang Puck concept next door to Library Bar was going to close, so we hopped on it,” said co-owner Michael Leko. “We gutted the entire WP kitchen and installed new, special hoods for the wood-burning pizza ovens.”

In regards to the future of their company, Leko said, “Our goal is for slow growth and to be around for 20 years. We want to have a solid place and work diligently to make that happen.”

Urbano also embraces a new crowd. “This is our first place that serves lunch in a long time, which has made it a different experience than our other Downtown concepts.”

Food/Beverage

With a healthy selection of pizzas and small plates, Urbano’s menu pleases any palate. A favorite starter is the Mozzarella Trio that includes heirloom tomatoes with burrata, fresh mozzarella with sweet cherry tomatoes and smoked mozzarella with grilled radicchio. The wood-roasted broccoli offers a crisp burst of flavor with balsamic saba and chili flakes.

When it comes to the wood-fired Neapolitan style pizzas, the sopressata with mozzarella, fresno chili, tomato and scallions is near perfect. Leko’s favorite is the scimmietta; a pizza with smoked bacon, pumpkin, and goat cheese that was created by the “Top Chef” winner and Gorbal’s owner, Ilan Hall, during his recent stint as guest chef.

A welcome addition to the Urbano menu is the dessert creation of Chef Ilan. The caramelized pizza bread, poco dolce, is filled with sweet ricotta and nutella and is just as amazing as it sounds.

Service

Service at Urbano is friendly and the food arrives quickly. Servers are always available to answer questions and offer assistance, but they don't hover or rush the guests.

Value

Urbano's greatest value in that the menu is somewhat of a “choose your own adventure”. The pizzas are large enough for two and cost between $12 and $18. Small plates are also reasonably priced and generously portioned.

Urbano Pizza Bar / 630 W. 6th St. / Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m., Fri 11:30 a.m.-midnight, Sat 6p.m.-midnight / 213-614-1900 / urbanopizzabar.com

Miles and Kelli are Downtown residents with a combined 20 years in food and beverage operations. Miles is a Los Angeles native who works in commercial real estate brokerage and development, with a focus on repurposing historic structures in jeopardy for food and nightlife uses. Kelli is a Los Angeles transplant from Oregon via Alabama and is the managing director for an L.A. area restaurant group. Both love the discovery of new food, drinks and venues, especially when they offer a unique patron experience and great value.

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Checklist