As if the Irvine community needed more reasons to visit the Irvine Spectrum, the well-known brand Bristol Farms launched a massive new food hall experience in March, featuring a full-service pizzeria and a half dozen other fast-casual establishments.
What makes this Bristol Farms location stand out from others is its beautiful and delicious-looking selection of restaurants including a bakery, a sandwich shop, a pizzeria, a hot food section, a hot chicken fast food spot, a plant-based restaurant, a seafood spot, a café, a build-your-own salad store, and a poke and sushi restaurant.
Not to be overlooked, however, is Viaggio Pizzeria, Bristol Farms’ first full-service pizzeria well-known for using Carinspring Mills Edison & Glacier Peak stone-milled flours, which are fermented in-house for at least 36 hours.
Don Evon, vice president of culinary and general manager of Bristol Farms Newfound Market, explained what benefits Bristol Farms saw in bringing this new concept forward.
Simply put, “a love of pizza and passion for creating craveable foods,” is what paved the way for this brand new concept from the well-known grocer, in one of Southern California’s most exclusive areas – Irvine, according to Evon.
As the first for Bristol Farms and Irvine, Evon explained that the full-service pizza restaurant is being well-received by crowds at the Irvine Spectrum, adding that he has noticed a seamlessness between shopping and dining.
“Viaggio has been a big hit for our customer base,” he said. “It has access from both inside and outside of Bristol Farms and it feels completely separate from the shopping experience so it’s great for a business lunch or date night but it can also be the perfect start to your daily shopping.”
In terms of menu items, Evon said there are definitely some standouts, including Gramma’s meatball, which is tomato braised pork and veal meatballs with Iberico Lardo on top of a bed of Anson mills polenta and topped with housemade marinara.
Another dish mentioned by Evon is aptly named The Hornet – red sauce, tempesta sopressata piccante, buffalo ricotta, wildflower honey, Tempesta nduja, bee pollen. And for those looking for a meaty mushroom dish, Evon explained that the Super Shroom maitake, made with cremini, shiitake, hon shimeji, fresh thyme, garlic, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta from Compania would be a perfect choice.
For dessert, Evon recommended that Butterscotch Budino, made with creamy butterscotch – Italian custard, salted rum caramel topped with a whipped vanilla crème.
When it comes to pairing wine with pizza Evon said there is a robust selection of important and domestic wines available.
“Our wine list is a mix of California and Italian wines with a great variety to choose from on any budget or any pallet,” he said. “My favorite is Shafer Relentless from Napa Valley. It’s a proprietary blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah. It’s grown on a small ridgetop just south of the Stags Leap District. It carries hints of chocolate, black plum, slate, black olive, and leather – a beautiful Syrah that offers lots of smoky dark berry fruits, nicely textured, medium to full-bodied packages.
With so many different pizza options in the competitive southern California market, Evon said Bristol Farms believes Viaggio Pizzeria must deliver “great hospitality” in order to stay relevant in such a competitive market.”
“Craveable food will keep people coming back,” he said.
With more than four decades of experience in the grocery space, Adam Caldecott, CEO of Bristol Farms, emphasized that providing guests with a variety of choices has always been a key strategy in Bristol Farms’ success.
“This year marks our 40th anniversary and Bristol Farms Newfound Market showcases the many innovations we will roll out to the company. With each store we open, we strive to improve and better serve a wide variety of guests who share a desire for flavor, quality, and convenience,” Caldecott said. “So much of what we do is driven by a genuine passion for good food. Our Irvine location will bring together all the local, artisanal, and seasonal items you’ve come to expect from Bristol Farms. Plus, we’ve created seven special food venues to entice and excite Irvine Spectrum Center visitors and the surrounding communities. If you’re someone who loves to cook, entertain, or are a passionate foodie, we invite you to come and explore Bristol Farms Newfound Market.”
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