Collaborative, progressive, confident, and possibly their most “rock,” The Beatles’ album Revolver reflected both a security in their sound and a hearty leap into the future.
“In my career right now, this is my Revolver,” explains Nick Bodden, chef and owner of Revolver, a new pizza shop on the Westside. After fine-tuning his culinary prowess through work in Michelin-starred kitchens from New York City to Santa Barbara, Bodden is now making the jump into opening a restaurant of his own.
“If I could, I would call this a psychedelic pizza shop,” he said with a laugh. Showcasing an assortment of records ready to spin from his Marantz/Pro-Ject turntable setup and pizza so good it tastes as if you’re entering another dimension, I’d grant him rights to the “psychedelic” title.
Bodden is composing this delectable collage of flavors with Nick Gebhardt, a former colleague from Sama Sama Kitchen, and Ron Allen, from Beefhearts Pop-Up & Catering. The three worked together during Bodden’s event-driven pop-up dining experience called The Coterie Club, and they all share a mutual love of music and cooking.
“They wouldn’t do anything artistically unless the four of them agreed on it,” said Bodden of The Beatles. “That’s kind of how it is here.”
You can taste the harmony in their food and feel it in their casual yet thoughtful atmosphere, which features vintage furniture and hanging lights on their charming patio, old-school bar stools inside, and the collection of records just beyond the register.
“It’s all about the experience,” said Bodden, who took over the longtime home of Paesano’s Pizzeria on San Andres Street. “Obviously, the first thing is the food, but very close behind it is the aesthetic, the sound, and the vibe of the place.”
He’s excited to build community there. “I can’t wait until people can bring in their own records and just hang out and drink and eat and listen to music,” explained Bodden, the longing in his voice palpable. “It’s really hard for me to only be the pickup and delivery guy right now because we can offer so much more.”
For now, their menu offers an incredible pizza experience unlike any I’ve tasted in Santa Barbara. Bodden’s roots are in Long Island, where he grew up working in pizza parlors and bagel shops. That gives the place an East Coast vibe, but more importantly, that New York–style pizza. The small menu of pies, salads, and breads showcase the three chefs’ collective ability to tune in to each dish with searing focus, resulting in a dining experience that hits all the right notes. Here are some highlights.
Margherita Pizza: “When you’re working with something so simple, you’ve just gotta put all of your love into the ingredients,” Bodden said. From hand-pulling their cheese to milling their own flour and fermenting the dough for at least 36 hours, the attention to detail is meticulous and the flavors are turned up loud. The margherita shines with a combination of mozzarella cheeses, tomato sauce, and a finishing of fresh basil, pecorino, and chili flakes for a little kick.
White Pizza: I never understood what the big deal was about white pizza until I tried Revolver’s. Homemade ricotta, mozzarella, olive oil, garlic, and braised shallots are piled onto their crisp-exterior, doughy-interior crust. Roasted vegetables can be added to their white or rossa pizzas and is highly encouraged. “It’s basically whatever we find at the market,” Bodden explained. This version included fresh broccolini and fingerling potatoes. This white pillowy pie is a treat I know I will crave regularly.
Caesar Salad: “We sacrificed a big menu to be able to really, really do everything from scratch,” Bodden said. Their Caesar salad is a powerful example of this. The ingredients for the dressing are classic — anchovies, aioli, a whole bunch of parmesan — but the fact that they’re all homemade results in heavenly flavors. The hearts of romaine are as crisp as if they were picked from a backyard garden and served with a flurry of fresh parmesan on top. Their ranch dressing with homemade buttermilk is so addictive I wish it could be purchased by the bottle.
Beverages: To complete the sensory experience, wine and beer will be available once their liquor license is granted. Bodden enlisted his friend Drew Cuddy, the owner of Satellite S.B. Wine Bar on State Street, to procure a selection of natural wines and Draughtsmen Aleworks as the star player for beers. For now, they’re playing the hits of nonalcoholic beverages with Topo Chico and bottled Coke fully stocked.
1429 San Andres St.; (805) 679-5818; revolversb.com
Every day, the staff of the Santa Barbara Independent works hard to sort out truth from rumor and keep you informed of what’s happening across the entire Santa Barbara community. Now there’s a way to directly enable these efforts. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.