April 1, 2018 |

Conversation: Lars Smith, State of Mind, Los Altos, CA

By Denise Greer

Lars Smith, co-owner, State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria, Los Altos, California

Lars Smith, co-owner, State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria, Los Altos, California

State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria

Los Altos, California

My brother, father and I came up with our concept many years ago at a beer pairing dinner at a wonderful gastropub that features local and seasonal fare. Our concept is relatively simple: we aim to showcase and celebrate the best that California has to offer through pizza, pub food and craft beer. Our tagline is we are a “pizzeria and public house inspired by the Golden State.”

I’m hesitant to define our style of pizza as it is ever evolving. I think we are somewhere between New York and California styles of pizza. For us, it’s all about the dough (36-hour minimum proof and always hand stretched) and showcasing the best ingredients that California has to offer.

For us it was important that the menu was in harmony with our service style and the overall vibe of our restaurant. It’s comfortable and approachable, yet progressive and edgy. We like to push boundaries and get people to try things they may have not had before while still being able to get familiar items, as well. We decided to only offer one size pizza and only have composed pizzas on the menu. We want to encourage people to share and try new things. We also want to be able to showcase topping combinations that we think go great together.

We have pepperoni, mushroom and cheese pizzas, but we also feature pizzas with toppings like duck, kale, chorizo and potato. We want to push people to expand their ideas about what pizza can be and how it can be made. A big part of our menu is showcasing local ingredients and making everything from scratch. We slice our pepperoni and salami in house as well as all our veggies. We make all of our sauces in house as well. It’s simple and honest food, yet exciting and modern.

We have been blown away by the popularity of our duck, foie gras and cherry pizza that we won with at the International Pizza Challenge last year. We can hardly roast enough duck to keep in on the menu. We knew that it is a great pizza, but we weren’t sure how many people would be willing to try it. Our goat cheese and cherry tomato pizza has also been a huge hit. We offer the option to add our house-made sausage to it and people have been loving it. My favorite pie on our menu is a simple one called “Greens and Cream.” It has mozzarella, a local farmstead cheese, kale, red onion and fresh cream drizzled on top. We have such a variety of interesting pizzas; we see customers coming back to try a new pie each time.