The Benchmark Story


The Pizza

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. 

The Name

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. 

The Owners

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.

Farms & Suppliers

We believe that food is craft, and ingredients are the core components of good food, therefore we make cheese, sausage, pies, pasta and condiments in house. Local and sustainable produce alongside Italian imported dry goods give our food a true sense of terroir, generated from our own Bay Area agricultural environs and the source of pizza’s tradition in Italy. Our meat is responsibly raised, nitrate and hormone free.
California Green Business Network


Benchmark Pizzeria uses 100 percent renewable energy for our business and is committed to sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices.