If a new restaurant called Wall St Pizza sounds misplaced on its Washington Blvd spot in Culver City, perhaps that’s the point. This is a New York style pizza place looking to stand out in Los Angeles.
The quintessential New York pizza is known for having a flexibly thin and soft but crisp crust that expands 18 inches across, wide enough to have to fold when handling a slice. Randy Langhamer, owner of Wall St Pizza, should know. He and his son Keith, who is the CEO of the business, are native New Yorkers, complete with the accent and ribbing sense of humor.
Though becoming a restaurateur marks a career change for Randy, the name of his new business lends a metaphorical continuity to his occupational pursuits, having spent 36 years working on Wall Street as a global equity trader.
“What it has taught me is drive and determination, and you hold yourself to a certain standard,” Randy said.
To bring his vision for Wall St Pizza to fruition, Randy let Keith take the wheel to operate the restaurant and put his experience to work. “I’ve been in the service industry for about 12 years,” Keith explained. “You’ve gotta give people customer service. We’re big on customer service and hospitality.” He was involved in multiple restaurant openings in Las Vegas hotels, including at Caesars Palace, Paris, and The Linq.
To live up to the restaurant’s slogan and Wall Street pun, “We know how to make dough,” Randy has placed particular focus on the quality of the dough, which went through 21 rounds of recipes to meet his critical standards. He admits that they continue to make tweaks not only based on his own preferences, but also from constructive customer feedback.
For Wall St Pizza, the dough flour of choice is Caputo “00,” which is milled in Naples, Italy. It has a low gluten content and is considered to be the gold standard by pizza makers for its fine grind, necessary to give the edges a crispy crunch. The dough also gets a dose of water altered with the aid of a filtration system and added minerals to replicate the pH of water in New York.
Another main ingredient for the dough is patience. Using a technique called long proofing, the dough is left to sit for 24 hours to ferment and rise. The process leaves tiny air bubbles throughout the dough and gives the crust a chewy bite even in the thinnest places. It achieves a lightness that doesn’t create a sensation of filling up on bread, even for slices that span the width of your plate. Notably, you can also request gluten free or whole wheat crust.
“Chefs and owners of restaurants made it a point to eat here. And one said, ‘I got to tell you, this is probably the best dough pizza I’ve had in years,’” Randy said.
After the dough is hand tossed, it’s layered with a housemade sauce of simmered San Marzano tomatoes, which originally grew in the volcanic soils near Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius, cultivating a less acidic fruit with a more potent sweetness. The cheeses that top Wall St pizzas include buttery Italian cheese from Grande and fresh mozzarella from Di Stefano Cheese in Pomona.
The menu lists nearly 20 made-to-order specialty pizzas, all carrying 18-inches worth of gourmet toppings, including some fun crossover creations—consider dishes like buffalo chicken, stuffed baked potatoes, or tacos in pizza form. You’ll also find a distinctive variety of fresh non-GMO vegetables, cheeses, sauces and meats. No matter your choice, the cooked ingredients are either freshly baked, broiled or sauteed, but nothing is fried.
For pickier palates, traditional New York pizzas can be customized with your choice of toppings from a familiar roundup of meat and veggie options on 12-inch or 18-inch crusts. Randy particularly recommends the housemade meatballs, which are sizable spheres of well-blended ground beef and Italian sausage. “I’m not a big meatball guy, but these things are killer.”
If an entire pizza intimidates your appetite, you can choose a slice from several varieties on display at the counter as available. Or you can enjoy the specialty dough in its other forms, including substantially sized hero sandwiches, calzones, and garlic knots. The garlic knots alone are an ode to the dough, made with fresh garlic, pecorino romano and parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil.
In keeping with the restaurant’s theme, the menu items read like a glossary of Wall Street jargon, with specialty pizzas named after stock trading terms, and salads named after stock ticker symbols. Even if you don’t recognize some of the labels or their meanings, they’re at least a curious and perhaps educational conversation starter in discussing the dishes they describe.
On the walls are photos and posters of the iconic movies the market inspired, showcasing the frequent connections between Hollywood and Wall Street. At the bar, the beers curated by Keith also maintain East Coast connections, with several New York microbrews on tap and in bottles. Vino enthusiasts will find 12 organic French and Argentine wines, all rated 92 or 93 points.
While lingering at the bar, you’ll notice colorful shards of glass embedded in the smooth countertop, all of which came from recycled beer and wine bottles. If the TV above doesn’t hold your interest, the adjacent large window may mesmerize you. Framed within is a neon-lit cascading waterfall that flows ironically into a row of ceaseless flames from the fire pit below.
The restaurant’s layout was designed with a west wall that rolls up and extends the dining area out to an open patio. Located in an area on the verge of significant expansion, Randy and Keith are enthusiastic to get to know the local community. With Wall St, they offer guests a gathering spot with plenty of tasty options for an easy excuse to make repeat visits.
Acknowledging that Wall St Pizza is a stylistic departure from typical New York pizza joints, Randy suggests, “It’s not really a pizzeria. It’s more of a pizza lounge.”