P3 Pizz

Photos by Brian Addison.

The massive space left by Atlantic Studios at 4th St. and Junipero Ave. had been empty for what felt like forever and a day—and simultaneously left an emptiness amongst the street’s patrons with the only vibrancy coming from those at Portfolio Coffeehouse.

Enter P3 (pronounced “P-Cubed”).

This artisanal, all-things-carby joint took over part of the empty space previously in use by Atlantic, with the other larger area to be an upcoming Peruvian-fusion restaurant. Together, they will provide a much needed boost of food options along Retro Row, joining local staples Lola’s and Number Nine. Though the sterile complexion of the tiny spot harkens to a hospital more than a haven for comfort food—a lacks a single spat of color outside stark white and grey—the warmth of both its wood-burning oven and its employees could prove to be the spark needed to reinvigorate the small strip east of Retro Row.

P3 FrontP3 stands for their three house staples: pizza, pasta, and ‘panadas (sans the e and m), with the last part due to the Latino influence of both the chefs and owners. Though they offer a gluten-free flatbread to snack on for those avoiding the goodness that is bread, the menu is not one for those looking to entirely avoid a grain-induced serotonin boost.

Pizza is not only solid in Long Beach, but some of the best around. Between the two Michael’s Pizzerias and La Parolaccia, P3 faces some serious stone-oven competition and unfortunately, P3 ultimately falls behind these two local masters.

I opted for the carnivorous Chef’s Choice pizza option. Like Michael’s and Parollacia, P3 does pizza Neapolitan style: a giant, wood-burning oven where thin pizzas are tossed and cooked within minutes. Mine was adorned with crumbled Italian sausage, pepperoni, and prosciutto atop a light swirling of tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. But unlike Michael’s and Parolaccia, P3 slices their pie the moment it comes out of the oven, leaving the otherwise good dough a tad too chewy and tough.

This, however, does not mean the pizza lacks quality or taste or even bonuses that would make one choose P3 over somewhere else. Case and point: their unique tuna empanadas—tuna, olive oil, some Spanish olives filled inside a wrapped dough shell—which at $2.75 a piece is an affordable snack-to-go, and rosemary crème brûlée—a creamy, herby concoction that makes me miss Shortnin’ Bread’s rosemary shortbread cookie immensely. Also a selling point is P3’s outside seating options, a huge joy for those who have become used to the parklets a block westward.

P3 Emp

With their pasta, however, they win the gold: the red pepper pappardelle was some of the best I’ve had in the area and when accompanied with their Bolognese, P3 could very well creep up to the level of Parolaccia with some refinement.

p3burritoBeyond the basic Ps, P3 offers a much needed service: breakfast starting at 7AM when they open. Their breakfast burrito, with one’s choice of soyrizo or good ol’ pork chorizo, is scrumptious and filling for $8: egg, potatoes, housemade salsa, and cheese are filled into a tortilla and topped with avocado and a lime-crème drizzle. And if you’re craving pizza, fear not for they offer a breakfast pizza, topped with potatoes (harkening to its dinner companion, the Bianca Nostra), bacon, and eggs. Add frittatas—the Italian version of an omelette—and pancakes to the mix, can one say win? I think so.

Though P3 has some kinks to work out, but this is a given with any place that opens fastidiously. The far more important point is that P3 is an unquestionably welcome addition to the neighborhood. And when they get their wine/beer permit, we can expect 10 microbrew taps to wash down all those delicious carbs while watching them hone their skill.

P3 is located at 2306 E 4th Street and is open Monday through Sunday from 7AM to 10PM.

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