Best Emerging Pizza Chain

Lanesplitter Pizza and Pub

It seems our little pizza joint has grown up. Two years ago, Lanesplitter still felt rather provincial — two popular pubs at hip spots in Berkeley and Oakland, and one take-out location up in Albany, all serving up some of the East Bay's best New York-style thin-crust pizza. But last summer, the business added an additional take-out spot in Oakland's Grand Lake neighborhood, much to the pleasure of fans in the area who now had a shorter distance to travel — or a shorter time to wait for delivery — when it came to their Lanesplitter fix. What more could they ask for? Less than a year later, another location followed. The new Emeryville pub, located in a slice-shaped structure at San Pablo and MacArthur avenues, is bigger than its predecessors and sports a decidedly Emeryville look: exposed ceiling beams, air ducts, and wiring; unpainted concrete floors; lots of big, open windows; and, from the front door, a view of no fewer than four condo developments. The space has the distinct feel of a neighborly joint made good. As long as the pizza stays solid — which, on a recent lunchtime visit, it did — longtime patrons can continue to look on in pride.

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