Seeing Nabolom Bakery & Pizzeria on the lists of Bay Area black-owned businesses was a reminder that I'd not yet returned under the new owners. https://www.chowhound.com/post/berkel... On August 1, 2015, the day before the original owner-collective shut it down, I had waited in line for a final morning bun and made a lasting memory of the good and bad of then 39-year-old bakery. https://www.chowhound.com/post/nabolo...
Wednesday I routed myself through Berkeley to get a shot at picking up the pizza of the day. Nabolom makes a single kind of pizza changing daily. It's ready starting at 11:30am and available as slices, half-pie or whole pie with a light-bake (aka par-baked) option. The managing partner spent a decade at the Cheeseboard and that seems like a trustworthy background for this endeavor. The pizza can be reserved in advance, but I wanted to get a sense of the place again before making a commitment. A whole pie is $26 about 16" in diameter. The light baked pizzas are also available at Star Grocery in Berkeley after 1:00pm.
Arriving at 11:20am turned out to be optimal. Scored a metered parking space right in front and there was no line. Stepping inside, I apologized for being a little early for the pizza. To my delight, I was told that the light-bake was just coming out of the oven if that's what I wanted. Sold! By 11:30am, the line was starting to form with the first six customers in the queue.
Baking instructions are printed on the pizza box. We heated a couple slices in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. This was enough to heat through and melt the cheese. But the crust was still soft on the bottom, perhaps heating the full range to 8 minutes would take care of that and bring some crispness. The pizza layers on a lot of flavor and the chewy sourdourgh-leavened crust was flavorful in and of itself. The rim was a bit tough rather than crisp, and maybe waiting till dinner time to bake it off affected that. The onions deserve a special mention, so sweet and retaining a bit of firm crunch. Though the toppings do not look that heavy, this one did have quite a bit of cheese and one big slice (one-eighth of the pie) was enough richness for me.
We liked the pizza quite a bit and are happy to have leftovers to finish baking for quick lunches. If there had been Danish or morning buns still available, I would have bought some to compare, but no such luck. The new owners acquired the original recipes and added their own to the repertoire. Staff's helpful attitude and attentiveness even in these stressful times improved the service over the original. I'm happy that Nabolom has this new lease on life.
Nabolom Bakery & Pizzeria
2708 Russell Street
(510 ) 845-2253
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