Gnarly Girl Pizza Will Bring NYC-Style Pizzeria To San Diego's Uptown

September 8, 2021

A pizza industry insider with nearly two decades of experience is gearing up to open a classic NYC-style pizzeria in San Diego's Uptown area.

Melissa "Mel" Arce has 18 years of experience in the pizza and restaurant industry, including working locally at Sicilian Thing Pizza, Surf Rider Pizza and Fathom Bistro. She recently took over the 1,525 square-foot space that last housed Twisted Taps on the outskirts of San Diego's University Heights and North Park neighborhoods to follow her dream of open her very own pizzeria. 

"I started delivering pizza in IB when I was 16 or 17," explained Gnarly Girl Pizza founder Mel Arce. "When I was 18, I moved to Miami Beach and got a job as a 'counter girl' at a local pizza shop serving slices and making sandwiches. From there I quickly learned how to make a variety of different styles of pizza, classically trained by a bunch of 'old guys' from New York. I'm proud to say that I was offered admission into UCSD for the fall term of 2021, but after some deep soul searching I decided to follow my original dream - to open my own pizza shop. I'm just very grateful for the opportunity and especially grateful to be in North Park, a community I've lived and work in since 2009."

Gnarly Girl Pizza will be a classic East Coast-inspired pizzeria, serving signature & customizable pizza pies and slices, as well as other elevated pizzeria sides and dishes. The former Twisted Taps space will be redesigned by Sally Rodrigues, a local restaurant designer from CRAVE Design Company. In addition to an interior dining room and bar with 24 taps and a curated wine list, the restaurant will have outdoor seating along the front and side of the building. 

Gnarly Girl Pizza aims to open sometime in early 2022 at 2302 El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego. Stay up to date on the progress by following Gnarly Girl Pizza on Facebook