Benchmark Oakland debuted in Oakland’s historic “Old Oakland” neighborhood at end of summer 2018. Our cuisine is inspired by Italy but California sourced; we offer naturally leavened wood-fired pizza, housemade pastas, locally sourced meat & fish, antipasti, and salads. Benchmark Oakland offers wine, beer, and a full bar with craft cocktails from local spirits.
We don’t like attaching a specific label to our pizza, but it is closest to the Neo-Neopolitan in style. 11-12 inches and serving 1-2 people depending on appetite. it’s thin-crust with a puffy cornice and plenty of leoparding (this refers to the black spots on the crust and represents optimal tempering). Our dough is made daily and left to rise for 48 hours before we top it, cook it in our wood oven, and serve it to you.
Chef/Owner Peter was inspired by the survey markers his Dad (a geologist) would point out to him as a kid. They are round like pizza and offer unique markers of a specific place, just like our pizza. Many local benchmarks, photographed and framed by Peter, can be found hanging in the dining room.
Farms & Suppliers
We believe that ingredients are the core component of good food and next to hospitality, quality cuisine is one of our core priorities. Accordingly, we source our produce from local organic farms – Riverdog, Star Route, Full Belly, and Dirty Girl – and our meat is local, sustainably raised, and nitrate free. Our breads and doughs are made in house from a natural starter, and the pasta and cheese is made by hand.
“…excellent execution of Italian-Californian dishes prepared from seasonal, mostly locally sourced, organic ingredients… House-stretched cheese, house-cured bacon, sourdough starter made with the restaurant’s own wild yeast definitely account for something, in addition to the produce coming from local farms, like Riverdog, Star Route, Full Belly, and Dirty Girl.”
“Every item we ordered was exquisitely prepared, fresh with exceptional taste! Saffron in the Seafood Stew is an excellent idea! The Sourdough Crust in the Pizza was mild and perfect! We will be back!”
Benchmark Oakland Team
Melissa & Peter Swanson opened Benchmark Pizzeria in 2012 after a decade of work in the local restaurant industry. They met at Oliveto Cafe & Restaurant in Oakland, where Melissa was a host and server and Peter worked as lead line cook. After Oliveto, Peter helped to open Dopo in Oakland, where he remained as sous chef for 6 years before opening Benchmark. Melissa worked at Chez Panisse as a server in the cafe upstairs and also for her family’s organic baby food company, Little Bug. In the summer of 2018, the pair plans to open their second location, Benchmark Oakland, in the Old Oakland district near downtown.
Jennifer Moffitt – Chef de Cuisine
Before Benchmark, Jennifer was a sous chef at Boot n’ Shoe in Oakland for six years. A native of the East Coast, she’s worked for prominent chefs in Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston. Her love for Italian food and the availability of fresh, local products has grounded her in the East Bay. “How can you go wrong with farm to table product, incredible people of all walks of life and a new culinary adventure at every turn?”.