The pizza is authentic. The sign? Not so much. The Place:
Pizzeria 22, 4213 S.W. College St., 687-7701, WEST SEATTLE.The Hours: Monday-Friday 4-6 p.m.; Power Hour 4-5 p.m.The Deal: There’s no happy-hour menu at Seattle’s newest Neapolitan-style pizzeria (and West Seattle’s only one), but your server will be happy to tell you about the daily specials–two types of pizza and a buck off any beer and wine from 4-6 p.m.. Between 4-5 p.m., also known as Power Hour, PBRs and other canned beers are only $1. The night we went, we ordered one of each of the pizza specials: a pepperoni with Italian tomatoes and mozzarella and the margherita 22 studded with fresh basil.The Digs: Located across the street from Blockbuster and behind Yen Wor Village sits a totally unassuming, slice-sized pizzeria adorned with pretty blue hanging flowers, some outdoor seating that makes great use of a tiny chunk of sidewalk, and a vertical neon pizzeria sign that looks oddly familiar. Down the street at the corner of California Avenue is a sandwich board that’s even more so. I’ve seen these signs before. I Just. Can’t. Remember. Where. If only I had a poorly painted-over clue. It makes sense that Pizzeria 22 owner Cary Kemp would find inspiration in Via Tribunali; he helped launch the place. He also owns his own wood-fired pizza catering company, Inferno. But repurposing a competitor’s sign to promote your own spot? In fact, there’s something about the entire restaurant that seems borrowed: the brick pizza oven, the artistic pizza to-go boxes, the tiled walls and high ceilings, the fixtures, the Italian wine glasses. Instead of Pizzeria 22 they should have called this place Via Tribunali 2.0.Photo by Julien PerryIn addition to the pizzas, there’s a list of salads that are incredibly fresh, generously sized, and visually stunning, if not a little underdressed. The pizzas are delicious; not as charred as other Neapolitan-style pizzas (perhaps the oven is not as hot?), but also not as soggy and thin in the middle of the pie as you sometimes find. Kemp is usually walking through his narrow restaurant–often a crowded task, as there’s not a lot of room between the bar and the row of tables that are situated behind it. His role seems to be part server and part host, asking how everyone’s food is and making sure they’re having a good time. The place is also kid-friendly, with servers handing out pieces of dough to babysit the kiddos while mommy and daddy drink their $4 glasses of Montepulciano.The Verdict: The food is really good and so is the concept. It’s just not new. I suspect the place is going to struggle between keeping happy both its hipster clientele and local families, which is practically mandatory in West Seattle. Sitting back watching folks enjoying a drink at the bar inches away from young families wrestling their screaming children at the table, you could cut the tension with a knife. The pizzas, though? You get scissors for that. Follow Voracious on Facebook and Twitter.