Last Updated on June 27, 2023 by Jeremy
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Gussy's Bagels & Pizzeria in Oakland is one of those business stories we loved to see unfold.
During the pandemic, chefs around the city were pivoting to provide food to hungry Pittsburghers and keep the lights on at their restaurants. Chef Scott Walton of Acorn in Shadyside (now closed) started making bagels, an exciting departure from the restaurant's normally fine-dining-oriented menu, and met near-instant acclaim with a die-hard following.
Cut to 2022, and Chef Scott left Acorn to open Gussy's Bagels & Deli in Oakland and expanded in early 2023 to become Gussy's Bagels & Pizzeria.
Incredible bagels, stellar (and massive) slices of pizza, and a central location in bustling Oakland? Gussy's truly is starting to put some of our favorite spots on the east coast to shame.
Go to Gussy's for Bagels
When Gussy's first opened, they were a dedicated bagel shop. As you would expect, they offered numerous styles of bagels, housemade schmear, and bagel sandwiches.
On our first visit, we tried a mix of standalone bagles plus schmear and an everything bagel with tuna, lettuce, tomato, and onion to get a decent cross-section of the menu.
The texture of the bagels here were the winner for us as the thick exterior provided a perfect contrast to the interior, and with a small dollop of schmear (get the scallion) made for a rather perfect bite. On the sandwich side of the spectrum, it is hard to go wrong with loading a bagel up with all of the toppings provided here, and our tuna was quite literally overflowing (in a good way).
Although one could argue that the sandwich prices are perhaps a bit on the higher end, we quite enjoyed the bagels and envision picking up a half dozen here or there whenever we're in Oakland. Well-made bagels are truly hard to come by here, and we'll take them whenever we can!
Return to Gussy's for the Stellar Pizza
As my first visit to Gussy's was when they were bagels only, I made a return trip to try their pizza shortly after the menu was expanded in 2023.
This one feels a lot like a conventional east coast pizza shop in that the pizzas are huge, the menu options are pretty limited (New Haven style with tomato sauce and Pecorino Romano cheese, cheese, pepperoni, sausage, and pepperoni/sausage only), and most all of the pies are available by the cut as well- perfect for a quick lunch when in the neighborhood.
Upon first glance, the slices here sound a bit expensive, but it wasn't until they came out of the oven that I realized why that was the case. The slices are huge! Not just NY style huge, but double that, and my two slices ended up being roughly 1/2 of an entire pizza- or about four slices of conventional pizza!
- Gussy's pizza is made more of New Haven style over New York style, with uneven edges, a little char on the crust, and cold fermented dough. That said, I don't think they put labels on the pizza too much- it's just a good pie!
So I went for this one full east coast style, folded it over on top of itself, and dug in. The flavors on this one even exceeded the high bar that I had already set. The sauce and the crust were both immensely flavorful, the modest char on the bottom added a nice balance to the sauce despite the non-edges being soft, and the ample distribution of pepperoni and sausage ensured I had some toppings in every bite.
Although I may be partial to wood-fired over other styles, if it is served like this, I think I could make an exception and become a regular- just ordering one slice instead of two for a solo visit (plus some bagels to go, of course). These slices are truly massive!
Overall, whether you visit Gussy's for bagels, pizza, or both (likely on separate visits), the odds are good you're going to walk away satisfied as this one is doing some truly remarkable things in their small storefront in the heart of Oakland. We look forward to being regulars- assuming we can find parking in Oakland to get to the restaurant to begin with, at least.
Gussy's Bagels & Pizzeria is located at 3606 Fifth Ave in Oakland.
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