Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

We need to talk about Tivoli

By meerna Jun12,2024

The first time I ate at a Fremont restaurant focused on pizza Tivoli, Caesar salad has been haunting me for months: crunchy romaine lettuce, a hint of bitterness from chicory, creamy dressing topping, abundant crunch of seasoned panko, and for those who want it, plenty of anchovies. I dreamed about it until I came back for another round. Every time I return for the mortadella sandwich with whipped ricotta and “pistachio jazz” for lunch or the black garlic nooses for dinner, I’m amazed that Seattle’s vast crowds of set designers haven’t found it yet.

A bowl of salad topped with grated cheese and breadcrumbs at the Tivoli restaurant

Caesar salad at Tivoli consists of fresh romaine lettuce and chicory, seasoned panko, anchovy, and creamy dressing.

Photo courtesy of Tivoli

They continue to target co-owner Yasuaki Saito’s next newest location, Holy Bread. Saito is an industry veteran, having been a partner at the former London Plane and working with Tivoli co-owner Andrew Gregory in Post Alley Pizzeria. But every time I never wait in line for a slice of pepperoni for lunch or for the table to set a wholesome white kale and garlic pie for dinner, I wonder if I’m the only one in town with taste buds.

“We opened at a difficult time,” says Saito. “By the time we were successful, it was a thing of the past when we were considered a new place.” Nearly a year later, every detail is perfected – except the noise.

The concept combines Northwest ingredients with Gregory and Saito’s shared Midwestern roots, offering precision pizza served with a generous helping of nostalgia and a twist of Saito’s Japanese heritage. Water is provided in classic pebbled red plastic pizza cups, and empty Bianco DiNapoli tomato cans lift pizza from the table and hold napkins. Ed Villareal manages the drinks list and from behind the counter embodies what Saito calls the restaurant’s “Come as you are” hospitality. The wine list reflects the overall approach: nothing is taken too seriously, except quality.

A side-by-side photo of two pizza doughs at Tivoli

A slice of pizza with salad

Order your favorite slice of cake with a small Caesar salad on top.

Photos courtesy of Tivoli

“We hope this summer will bring better weather and more people to Burke-Gilman,” Saito says. The walls open to the north 34vol Street, between the bridges in the heart of Fremont, they will have plenty of outdoor seating. Saito’s decades of experience in the industry shine through in his patience, willingness to continue doing what he does so well, and the way he continues to tell the restaurant’s story. I’m sure the crowds will eventually find Tivoli just as they found the Holy Bread. Until then, I’ll happily continue to wash down my local smoked trout dip with a Teatro spritz.

By meerna

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