Four very different new pizzerias are shaking up the local pizza scene. Two of these parlors have introduced competing visions of New York-style pizza, while another takes aim at the Detroit-style deep-dish trend and the other muscles its way into the already crowded ranks of artisanal wood-fire pizzas. Fortunately, there’s no such thing as too much good pizza. Here’s what’s new and noteworthy. 

Pepperoni pizza at Brooklyn City in Laguna Niguel (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Brooklyn City Pizza

Brooklyn City started as a home-based cottage operation delivering strictly to South County during the pandemic but eventually transitioned to the brick-and-mortar space vacated by Johnny’s Pizza in Laguna Niguel. The name provides a clue as to the specialty: Brooklyn-specific thin-crust pizzas, 18 inches, available whole or by the slice. I haven’t spent enough time in Brooklyn to say with any authority whether these pies are genuine that borough’s way of doing things, but I can tell you this: The pepperoni pizza is very good. The crusts are thin. The dough pleasantly salted. The pepperoni curled into tiny red cups that capture the all-important grease and keep it from rolling off the pizza. They also make Sicilian-style pan pizzas. The shop is tiny and offers only a few seats indoors. The business appears to be geared mostly toward takeout. 30012 Crown Valley Pkwy., Laguna Niguel, 949-363-7777,

Pepperoni pizza at Loosie’s in downtown Santa Ana (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Loosie’s Pizza in downtown Santa Ana (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)



Loosie’s Pizza

Loosie’s opened a few months ago on the Spurgeon Street promenade just off 4th Street in downtown Santa Ana. The no-frills, slightly kitschy shop sells New York-style pizzas, whole (18 inches) or by the slice, and judging by the hours they keep I’m guessing their primary audience is the neighborhood’s weekend nightlife scene, but maybe they’re just getting warmed up. There’s enough seating inside for no more than a dozen people, plus they’ve got a small fenced-in patio with additional seating. I’m really excited about this one. Not since the short-lived Jinny’s have I enjoyed a New York-style pizza in Orange County as much as the pepperoni here. 300 E. 4th St., Santa Ana, 714-760-4444,

The Red 5 pizza from Lunita’s in San Juan Capistrano (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The Christina vegetarian pizza from Lunita’s in San Juan Capistrano (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Slice of the Red 5 pizza with spicy honey from Lunita’s in San Juan Capistrano (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)



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The benchmark for New York style pizza in OC keeps getting elevated

Lunita’s Pizza

Lunita’s began as a cottage enterprise during the pandemic when chef Daniel Garcia decided to try his hand at making Detroit-style deep-dish pan pizzas, which he promotes on Instagram. Garcia’s family owns the long-running Mexican restaurant El Maguey in San Juan Capistrano, where the family let him turn the adjacent takeout counter and former ice cream shop into a makeshift pizza operation. They don’t allow pizza consumption on the premises, though. All pizzas are strictly to-go and picked up by reservation only. How it works: You send a text message to Garcia’s cell phone, and he responds with available dates and times. You tell him which pizza you want then show up with cash at the agreed-upon time and date. The Red Five might be the best Detroit-style pizza in O.C. at the moment. 31481 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949-350-4670,

La Bella Primavera pizza at Viaggio in Irvine (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Viaggio Pizzeria

Viaggio is the new pizzeria adjoining Bristol Farms’ fancy new grocery store, Newfound Market, at Irvine’s Spectrum Center. It’s the grocery chain’s first full-service restaurant, an artisan pizzeria with a wood-fired oven. Although technically connected to the market, it feels very much like a stand-alone operation. The pizzeria has its own outside entrance and patio facing one of the outdoor mall’s busiest corridors. As for style, Viaggio fits the same artisanal wood-fire mold as say, Pizzeria Mozza, complemented with a sophisticated full-service cocktail program. The white pizza dubbed La Bella Primavera — topped with Calabrian-chile-cured pork belly and wild ramps — is particularly good. 700 Spectrum Center Dr. (adjacent to the Bristol Farms Newfound Market), 949-620-4010,

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