Pizzeria’s measured success
Delicious pizza sold by the foot or yard make Cheebo a hit.

By S. Irene Virbila
Times Staff Writer
May 8 2003

Cheebo, a new pizzeria on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, is barely out of the box, but already it’s clear this place is a go. The name, if you haven’t guessed, is a phonetic spelling of the Italian word for food, cibo. When owners Sandy Gendel and Sandro Reinhardt named their Laurel Canyon restaurant, Pace, the Italian word for peace (pronounced PAH-chay), everybody blithely made it rhyme with “lace.” They learned their lesson; hence, Cheebo.

Driving down Sunset, you can’t miss the huge corner building painted bright orange. The same color juices up the bare-bones interior where pizza aficionados sit on white wooden bus benches.

Tables are covered in white butcher paper, and a jar of crayons provides a way to fill the time while you wait for your food.

The idea behind Cheebo is pizza by the yard, a 3-foot-long piece here is called a slab. Can’t picture yourself taking home a pizza that, well, grand to eat alone? Not to fret. Cheebo also sells pizzas by the foot (and in the sit-down part of the restaurant, in fact, that’s the only way they come; slabs are only for takeout).

The billowy-crusted babies arrive on a wooden board straight from the oven. The crust is wonderful, made from biga, or sourdough.

In general, classic toppings such as cheese, pepperoni or a mild, delicious homemade fennel sausage trump the more eccentric offerings, but pizza Alfredo, smeared with cream and ricotta and topped with strips of good ham, mushrooms and spinach, turns out to be much better than it sounds.

I look forward to continuing my investigations with the chopped clam and jalapeƱo pizza or the veg-o-rama grande, which all of my (male) dining companions refused to consider trying. There’s also the option of creating your own topping at 75 cents per element, which can be anything from pineapple to burrata, pine nuts, soppressata or roasted marinated artichoke.

The menu offers soups, salads, bruschetta and a Cheebo burger made with either ground chuck or organic ground turkey breast. But it’s the sandwich category you really want to check out. I tried one, the terrific “porkwich”: grilled ciabatta filled with slow-roasted organic pork, Manchego cheese and tarragon mayonnaise.

By the way, whenever chicken is used here, it’s free-range and hormone- and antibiotic-free.

What’s brilliant is that everything is available for takeout (but for faster service, do call ahead). And they deliver in the area bordered by Doheny Drive, Beverly Boulevard, Vine Street and Mulholland Drive.