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Restaurant Visit: Pitfire Pizza by Barbara Bestor in LA

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Restaurant Visit: Pitfire Pizza by Barbara Bestor in LA

December 9, 2011

You wouldn't think that an old concrete-block Shakey's Pizza with a big asphalt parking lot could suddenly be a cool handcrafted kind of hangout, but LA architect Barbara Bestor was able to pull off that hat trick for Pitfire Pizza. For the Culver City location, she stripped down the building to its shell and reoriented the structure toward the parking lot, so the space now opens through oversized sliding doors onto a garden of grasses, olive trees, and herbs. "We accepted the reality of parking in LA and repurposed this generic freestanding box to create a new type of building," says Bestor. The industrial bones and plywood booths underscore the artisanal nature of wood-fired pizza, while the custom furniture and sculptural pizza oven speak to the attention to detail of the whole undertaking.

Photography by Ray Katchatorian.

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Above: Bestor was inspired by archiitect Lina Bo Bardi's work in São Paulo when she designed the pizza oven with two tiers of red steel. The yellow powder-coated steel bar stools are a custom design by the firm.

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Above: The whole space, including the kitchen, is one big room; the open layout has proved to be very popular with parents, who are able to keep a visual bead on their children.

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Above: Vintage chairs sit across from plywood booths outfitted with silver vinyl cushions. The tabletops are made of end-grain blocks of Douglas fir, a popular choice for industrial flooring.

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Above: The simple lighting fixtures are Muuto's E27 Pendant Lights, available at DWR.

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Above: The restaurant now opens to a garden, with the parking lot beyond.

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Above: Bestor is known for her love of strong graphics; on the exterior, she plays up the building's pattern of concrete blocks. "A bold graphic move sets the atmosphere and allows you to be fairly minimalist with the rest of it," she says.

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