Fresh ingredients the stars at Walnut Creek’s Pizzalina

Fresh ingredients the stars at Pizzalina

Fresh ingredients the stars at Walnut Creek’s Pizzalina
Concord residents Mike and Jacque Baker opened Pizzalina Pizzeria Tap Room in the Countrywood Shopping Center. (Rich Eber photo)

Richard Eber, Taste and TellWALNUT CREEK, CA (June 3, 2024) — Pizzalina Pizzeria Tap Room is that rare eatery finding instant success.

Long-time Concord residents Mike and Jacque Baker have created a unique culinary experience where their modest menu of homemade pizzas, pastas and salads excels.

“It is our intention to give patrons the best bite of food in their life,” notes Jacque. who previously toiled as deck hand to the captain for the Blue & Gold Fleet.

To back up such high standards, Mike has a lifetime of experience in the restaurant trade. Growing up in New England, he worked in coastal Clam Shacks prior to studying in Rhode Island’s Johnson and Wales University Culinary Program.

He then found opportunities in Atlanta, Hawaii and New Orleans as chef for the iconic Commander’s Palace. Migrating to the Bay Area, he worked in several restaurants – from Piatti in Danville to being culinary director for the Chalet Group in Oakland.

The Bakers purchased Pizzalina in San Anselmo in 2020 before opening recently in the space once occupied by Sorrento’s in Walnut Creek’s Countrywood Shopping Center. When patrons venture into the new restaurant, they are greeted with a short menu of three styles of pizza, pasta dishes, salads, wine and a large selection of draft beers from nearby breweries.

Getting started

A good place to start is with an appetizer of house-made meatballs drenched in a thick sauce featuring high-quality Bianco DiNapoli Tomatoes. We also enjoyed scrumptious garlic bread made with their pizza dough.

I recommend the sauteed Half Moon Bay Brussels sprouts and the insanely delicious vegetarian Minestra Italian white bean soup. The broth was rich without having a hint of soup base.

Now comes the difficult task of ordering pizza.

First is the lighter, Tavern style with a cracker thin crust. It is modeled after a similar dish made famous in English pubs to encourage beer consumption. House-made sausage and pickled vegetables mixed with a provolone-mozzarella cheese blend round out this masterpiece.

Another pizza selection is the square Sicilian with garlic cream covered by cheeses and selected toppings. It was crisp and juicy. My favorite was the Forest, containing roasted cremini mushrooms, fresh spinach and red onion.

The All-In with many toppings, including prosciutto and wild arugula, is delicious. They also serve classic pizza with premium ingredients. There are several other combinations I hope to try on subsequent visits.


On Monday through Friday until 4 p.m., Pizzalina offers a daily special of one large slice of a selected Sicilian or regular pizza for $8.

The menu does not end with pizza. They also have several house-made pasta creations. The seafood combo with sauteed Gulf white shrimp, Mediterranean mussels and saffron in a creamy garlic sauce reflects Chef Mike’s time in New Orleans. Another favorite of mine is the Gnudi, spinach-ricotta gnocchi sealed with potato flour in a tomato meat sauce topped with pecorino cheese.

Pizzalina makes all its pastas with premium Italian flour. Their salads feature homemade dressings.

Understandably, Jacque can boast: “We only have a small freezer at the restaurant as a larger one is unnecessary.”

Visit Pizzalina at 2064 Treat Blvd. in Walnut Creek. It opens at 11:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, closing at 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Reservations are encouraged, especially on weekends, at 925-546-1064.

Contact Rich Eber at

Rich Eber
Rich Eber

Rich Eber is a local journalist and long time resident of Concord.  His diverse topics covered go from politics to gourmet food.  He can be reached at