Made From Scratch
A local couple with a passion for fresh ingredients and family-style entertaining brings authentic pizza products to the South Bay and beyond.
- CategoryEat & Drink, People
- Written byLaura L. Watts
- Styled & photographed byDMP Studio & Shane O’Donnell
Husband-and-wife team John and Jen Mentesana both worked for many years in the food and media industries before they met. As a couple, they decided to combine their experiences with quality food and exciting events—as well as their passion for family and entertaining—and Locale90 authentic Neapolitan pizzeria was born. This Redondo Beach staple is now celebrating its seventh year.
Many restaurants and pizzerias make Neapolitan-style pizza, but to be considered authentic Neapolitan, the dough must be made with certain simple Italian ingredients, topped with specific cheeses and very few toppings, and kneaded by hand. Neapolitan pizzas, which originated in Naples, Italy, are often eaten with a fork and knife due to their unique texture.
In keeping with these traditions, Locale90 makes their dough using 00 flour and bulk fermentation. They top the pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Italian sea salt and imported extra-virgin olive oil and bake it using the time-honored method of open-flame cooking in an oven that reaches temperatures of over 900º.
“We are such a unique and streamlined concept—guests know what to expect when they dine with us and enjoy our products,” shares Jen. The menu features 16 types of pizza, a make-your-own option, pasta, salad and dessert.
While the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown was challenging, the Locale90 team made the best of it and looked after the needs of the community. They launched Neapolitan pizza kits in March 2020 so guests could purchase a fresh, easy-to-make, authentic pizza kit to create their own experience at home. Then they partnered with Walk With Sally and donated a pizza kit to a Walk With Sally family with each purchase of a kit.
“The ability for us to pivot and shift to support those in need was truly one of the proudest and most grateful periods of our business,” says John.
Jen agrees: “It was an incredible experience to witness the outpouring of support from our community for these families. I believe we all learned different lessons during the pandemic, but one I will never forget is how our South Bay community came together to support one another.”
Locale90 Neapolitan Pizza Kits continue to be available for individual purchase as well as monthly subscriptions. Whether you have an outdoor pizza oven, cook on your grill or bake it in your conventional oven, you can make fresh, delicious pizza that your family and guests will love. Log on to locale90.com to place your order!
It’s of utmost importance to Jen, John and their team to support other local businesses. They purchase produce from local farms, markets and purveyors as well as fine foods from across Southern California. To take it a step further, they support local schools and school garden programs to help students learn about healthy eating, farming and where their food comes from—including GrowingGreat and the Palos Verdes School Gardens program.
“As proud members of the South Bay, we put a great deal of value in giving back to the neighborhoods in and around the Beach Cities,” says Jen, who sits on the boards of Walk With Sally and the Peninsula Education Foundation. The restaurant also supports Richstone, Sandpipers and various local education foundations.
Drawing on John’s experience learning how to make authentic pizza dough from his Italian grandmother when he was 8 years old and Jen’s background of making charcuterie trays during the holidays at age 12, this couple is united in their passion for serving delicious food to their friends, family and neighbors. As John shares, “We have been so grateful for the opportunity to serve the South Bay community for the past seven years.”