Come for the Detroit-style square pies, stay for the Valrhona chocolate cream pies: Technically you’ll be taking it all to-go, but the point remains that at Quarter Sheets, a new pop-up run by a seasoned culinary couple, you cannot skip dessert.
Every Wednesday the orders go live over Instagram DM, and by Thursday afternoon the Saturday pickup slots are already filled—and when the weekend arrives, the boxes of fluffy-doughed, crunchy-edged square pies and decadent, artful desserts wait on a table outside a charming Spanish-style bungalow on a sleepy residential street in Glendale.
With more than a decade of professional pizza-making experience and a Michigan upbringing, Quarter Sheets founder Aaron Lindell walks that perfect balance of high-low with Detroit-inspired, nostalgic pizzas that are perfectly crusted by cheese around the edges but are baked using freshly milled flour and can come topped by more upscale and inspired ingredients. Guanciale, Castelvetrano olives, toasted garlic and ’nduja have all made their way onto the weekly special pizza at some point, but hey, there’s also cheese and pepperoni if you’re looking for something a little more classic.
“I’m always hoping people are going for the special because that’s where I’m trying to be creative, some people might say a little cheffy,” Lindell says. “I try not to go too far in that direction; I try to be thoughtful and serious about the composition and the execution of the pizzas, and then everything else can be kind of whimsical.”
Matching that whimsy is the parrot mascot, an imagined leader of the flock of parrots that took over their Glendale backyard toward the start of quarantine, but perhaps the biggest whimsy Quarter Sheets can offer is Hannah Ziskin’s dessert.
When the former M. Georgina pastry chef learned the restaurant would be closing temporarily this spring, she jumped into gear the same week, first cooking loaves of sourdough for friends out of their home oven, then gradually adding cookies and other sweets. When she began getting cake orders she found she was filling her days and weeks with her own new standalone operation, now called the House of Gluten.
“I basically started baking right away because I’m like, ‘What do I do if I don’t bake all day?’ Who am I, you know?” she says. “Like, ‘Vacation? What do you mean?’”
Lindell’s spent much of his two and a half years in L.A. as a personal chef, but 2020’s restaurant and bar shutdowns affected him, too: His monthly burger pop-up—Gee Bee Burgers—was versatile, running out of the truck bed of his ’81 Volkswagen, but without a busy location to serve, he needed to pivot. Given his background cooking Neapolitan-style pizzas at San Francisco’s Cotogna, and more dear to his heart, the Detroit-style pies he’d whip up for family meals and house parties, he turned to pizza. Given Ziskin’s own success working out of their home kitchen, they joined forces for a one-two punch that requires a constant ballet of using the oven around the other’s schedule.
Now every Saturday, should you be quick enough to place your order before it all sells out, you can sink your teeth into stellar pizza and a stunning layer cake that’s inspired by the pop-up’s name and gets baked, naturally, in a quarter-sheet–size pan. The cakes rotate, but you’ll almost always find Ziskin’s remarkably chewy chocolate chip cookies and her crucial chocolate cream pie that’s modeled after her childhood favorite, the chocolate pie at the Apple Pan. Ziskin fans can order her cakes and pies, as well as cookies and loaves, throughout the week online.
“It kind of vibes,” Ziskin says. “It’s like fancy and casual in this way where the pizza is accessible and heartwarming and familiar, and because he’s an incredible chef it becomes something else, and the cakes are the same way: a layer cake that has elevated ingredients [and] elevated flavors, and [with] the pies, I feel the same way.”
Lindell’s 24-hour fermented dough, which manages to still feel hearty while light as air, was also a bit of a collab.
“I get to speak with a very experienced baker, so I can’t take all the credit for all of this,” Lindell says. “But that’s a big part of it: I’m constantly tweaking it, and I’m very, very happy with where I’m at now.”
The recipe is adapting, as is the format: Currently Quarter Sheets can only offer 24 pizzas due to spacial, timing and equipment limitations, but Lindell is planning on opening up other days, most likely adding Friday nights to the schedule. It’s all a balance and part of exploring new entrepreneurial territory, for both of them.
“There’s a lot in a restaurant where you’re kind of bound by your customer base and people are expecting certain things, and it’s kind of nice that we can do whatever we want,” Ziskin says. “It’s the first time either of us are working for ourselves and not for somebody else—although technically on Saturdays I guess I work for Aaron,” she laughs, “but he’s a really good boss.”
Square Pies offers pizza and dessert pickup on Saturdays with both lunch and dinner time slots. Order via Instagram DM. Upon receipt you’ll be messaged with pickup address and instructions.
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