Detroit-style Pizza Hits the Streets of San Francisco with the Opening of Joyride Pizza

Samovar Tea business partners and brothers Jesse Jacobs and Joshua Jacobs have officially launched  Joyride Pizza now open at two prime San Francisco locations–Yerba Buena Gardens (730 Howard Street) and Joyride Valencia at 411 Valencia Street. The locations of Joyride Pizza, a new classic Detroit-style pizza, transforms architecturally stunning spaces into a mecca for Detroit pizza. Yerba Buena, with its floor-to-ceiling windows captures the San Francisco cityscape and offers gorgeous outdoor dining capable to seating 49 seats along with complete access to the gardens for those ordering to-go. The Valencia Street spot celebrates the poured concrete and limestone aesthetic on this popular urban thoroughfare.

The brothers bring the same commitment to creating a fantastic culinary experience as they did with Samovar Tea. When it comes to Detroit pizza, visitors at Joyride can enjoy such creations as  frico–pizza with a crispy caramelized cheese topping a 48-hour fermented focaccia with Sonoma County sourced organic ingredients.

Joyride Pizza celebrates the nostalgic pull of pizza, one of America’s favorite food. The concept started during last year’s COVID-19 shelter-in-place when co-founder Jesse Jacobs started tinkering in his home kitchen by using sourdough starters for baking bread with his wife and making pizzas in their Detroit style 8×10 cooking sheet for family dinners. It connected Jacobs with memories of the first time he ate pizza in 7th grade. It was from Pino’s Pizza in Brighton, Massachusetts and the taste was vastly different than the foods of his boyhood home where foods were strictly macrobiotic and organic. Pizza, as far as his family was concerned, was the antithesis of brown rice, lentils, and seaweed.

But that didn’t prevent his first taste of pizza and its intoxicating aroma to be an ecstatic though guilty pleasure. Jesse sums up this life changing experience in one word: Joy.

“Samovar Tea was on the cusp of expansion prior to the pandemic,” says Jesse. “I spent 20 years developing Samovar into an iconic brand. Similar to other restaurateurs across the country, COVID-19 dissolved the brick-and-mortar businesses to the point of no return. We needed to creatively adapt to the moment. Homemade pizza has brought so much joy to my family over the past year that my brother and I ultimately decided to go all-in and develop the best Detroit pizza we could imagine. We’re making nutrient-rich pizzas from local farm ingredients. We couldn’t be prouder of the menu, and can’t wait for people to try it out.”

The Jacobs brothers always had a love for Italian cuisine. It was, after all, a happy alternative to macrobiotics. On the non-macrobiotic side of their family, they enjoyed homemade fresh pastas, pizzas, sauces, and meats.

Later Joshua worked as a waiter at an Italian restaurant in high school, while Jesse worked as a pasta cook, waiter, and busser at various Italian restaurants in Boston’s North End and throughout New England.

Their ambitions ultimately took Jesse to Japan and then San Francisco and Joshua into the East Coast tech scene. The pandemic caused them to reflect, asking: “How can we bring the values and principles of Samovar Tea into the comfort food space that brings people instant joy?”

The answer was Joyride Pizza.

The Jacobs brothers developed a new digital retail store for Samovar Tea in an effort for beverage aficionados to continue to purchase their premium organic teas globally (LINK). To realize their epic pizza dream, they brought in acclaimed pizzaiolo Alastair Hannmann as Culinary Advisor & Regional Operations Manager of Joyride Pizza. A close friend and former employee of 13-time World Pizza Champion, Tony Gemignani, Hannmann was the master pizza maker who helped bring the vision and operations to life. Hannmann has a world-class track record that includes running an award-winning pizza chain in Hawaii, managing production at Zume, Inc., and winning accolades from the Guinness World Records for “World’s Longest Pizza” that was 1.5 miles long.

Joyride Pizza — Sonoma County PurveyorsBased in Sonoma County, Jesse Jacobs sought out small-batch, organic purveyors in Sonoma County for as many ingredients as possible for the Joyride Pizza menu. Petaluma’s hand-selected grains from Central Milling became a staple of the focaccia dough allowing for a sophisticated level of craftsmanship to carry on the Bay Area tradition of artisanal bread baking. Grown in California’s Central Valley, the newly planted organic wheat strain Yecora Rojo is custom blended for Joyride Pizza and the perfect varietal for a two-day fermentation. Higher proteins in the wheat offer greater strength in the dough for longer fermentation and bubbly, delicate, and delicious dough with naturally sweet and malty notes.

Artisan cured meats are from Zoe’s Meats in Petaluma including nitrate-free pepperoni, chicken, charcuterie, and wild oregano. Sonoma County Meat Company supplies all-beef meatballs, Italian sausage, and Applewood smoked bacon. Gourmet Mushroom Company sustainably grows Mycopia mushrooms in Sebastopol and Joyride Pizza utilizes the seasonal Chef’s Blend. Double 8 Dairy hand delivers ricotta cheese to Joyride Pizza, and Sonoma Vinegar and Sonoma Salt Company also provide essential products.
In Lodi, Joyride Pizza sources Corto Olive Oil for the focaccia dough, sauces, and finishing oil. Tomatoes are from Stanislaus Tomato Company in Modesto, Calif. Authentic to Detroit pizza is Brick Cheese, which is brought in along with mozzarella cheese from Buholzer Brothers in Wisconsin.

Joyride Pizza — Yerba Buena Gardens & Valencia Menus

Joyride Pizza – Yerba Buena Gardens sits atop one of San Francisco’s glorious outdoor green spaces. Joyride Pizza offers indoor dining as well as 49 seats of awe-inspiring views outside on its promenade. To-go orders can be enjoyed in the gardens below. Joyride Pizza – Yerba Buena Gardens serves six Classic Detroit Pizzas including The Cheese, Zoe ‘Roni Pepperoni, Meatzza, Pestoriffic, Sweet Heat Pineapple, and Eat Your Veggies (as well as Build Your Own). The menu features handcrafted Housemade Fresh Pastas (Red Sauce, Fusilli Pesto, Chiocciole Bolognese, Bucatini Carbonara, Kid’s Pasta); Salads (Spare Parts Chop, A Date With A Nut, Caesar with Anchovy Chimichurri, Mixed Baby Greens); Hand-Carved Charcuterie with a selection of locally cured meats, cheeses, and olives; and Desserts (Four Barrel Coffee Affogato, Gelato – 5 Different Flavors, Cannoli with rainbow sprinkles, pistachios, or chocolate chips, Vanilla Cheesecake, and a Root Beer Float).

Doug Dalton and Brian Sheehy (Co-Owners, Future Bars Group) supported the craft cocktail menu design along with Fred Acebo and Dan Sheel at Joyride Pizza – Yerba Buena Gardens featuring classics such as the Old Fashioned Joyride, Negroni, Bijou, Pineapple Smash, Pizza-Bloody Mary, and Bellini ($12/cocktail or $60/carafe). A selection of whiskey and amaro is available (2 oz. pours). Small-production California coast wines are on the menu from wineries such as Una Lou (Sonoma, CA), Pence Vineyards (Santa Rita, CA), Carignan (Mendocino, CA), Gail Wine (Sonoma, CA). Craft beers are from Fort Point and Temescal Brewing; other drinks include Golden State Cider and JuneShine Hard Kombucha. Non-alcoholic drinks include Samovar Organic Tea (Black, Green, Herbal), Four Barrel French Press Coffee, and a variety of sodas.

The Joyride Pizza – Valencia menu includes six Classic Detroit Pizzas (The Cheese, Zoe ‘Roni Pepperoni, Meatzza, Pestoriffic, Sweet Heat Pineapple, Eat Your Veggies as well as a Build Your Own); Salads (Spare Parts Chop, Caesar with Anchovy Chimichurri); Sweets (Cheesecake); Sides (Mike’s Hot Honey Packet, Marinara Sauce, Homemade Ranch), and Sodas.