The Benchmark Story
We don’t like attaching a specific label to our pizza, but it is closest to the Neo-Neopolitan in style. 11-12 inches and serving 1-2 people depending on appetite. it’s thin-crust with a puffy cornice and plenty of leoparding (this refers to the black spots on the crust and represents optimal tempering). Our dough is made daily and left to rise for 48 hours before we top it, cook it in our wood oven, and serve it to you.
Chef/Owner Peter was inspired by the survey markers his Dad (a geologist) would point out to him as a kid. They are round like pizza and offer unique markers of a specific place, just like our pizza. Many local benchmarks, photographed and framed by Peter, can be found hanging in the dining room.
Melissa & Peter Swanson opened Benchmark Pizzeria in 2012 after a decade of work in the local restaurant industry. They met at Oliveto Cafe & Restaurant in Oakland, where Melissa was a host and server and Peter worked as lead line cook. After Oliveto, Peter helped to open Dopo in Oakland, where he remained as sous chef for 6 years before opening Benchmark. Melissa worked at Chez Panisse as a server in the cafe upstairs and also for her family’s organic baby food company, Little Bug.
Ingredients are the core of good food! We hand stretch our mozzarella daily, and produce most of our core components in house, such as house-ground polenta, sausage, salad dressings, meatballs, bread, pasta and pasta sauces.