Opa! Some exciting news is arriving for Santa Rosa philhellenes (that is, lovers of greek culture). Chef Dino Moniodis, owner of the popular Petaluma icon Dino’s Greek Food Truck, is preparing to open up a brand new restaurant concept, Zimi Pizza, at 500 Mission Boulevard.
Dino’s cooking is heavily inspired by his family, having grown up cooking with them in Lithi, a town on Greek island of Chois. His father, Dimitri, earned the name “Zimi” (which is Greek for “dough”) because he worked in the local bakery. The name of Dino’s new restaurant is a nod to this history, as well as a play on words considering how integral his dough is to his pizza.
When his family moved to Santa Rosa, Dino attended the Santa Rosa Junior College culinary program and began taking his cooking to the next level of professionalism. He would go on to work for Sonoma County icons like Stark’s Steak and Seafood, Willie’s Wine Bar, and Brannan’s grill, cultivating a reputation as an extremely talented chef with a passion for fresh, local ingredients.
Dino’s first independent project, Dino’s Greek Food Truck, was an immediate hit. Dino partnered with various breweries across the county and the locals couldn’t get enough of his food. Dino’s food truck became a permanent fixture at The Block at Petaluma, and soon Chef Dino began work on his latest project – Zimi Pizza.
Zimi Pizza’s first location opened up last April at The Block, but the new Mission Boulevard location is a much-anticipated evolution of the concept. Featuring 12 inch Neapolitan-style pizzas with red, white, or green (pesto and garlic) bases, Zimi Pizza is Mediterranean food done right. Contrary to your usual pizza joint, Zimi offers unusual flavor profiles that simply cannot be found elsewhere. Popular pizzas include the Phoenix Pizza – with smoked mozzarella, chorizo, pepperoncinis, pepperoni and dried oregano, finished with lime, cilantro, and crème fraîche, and the Minotaur – with mozzarella, Thai peanut marinated chicken and pickled shiitakes, finished with cilantro, green onions, and lime.
One of Dino’s chief ambitions with his new restaurant is to create a space that fosters a community among patrons. Part of his effort to achieve this includes a significant exterior renovation of the restaurant he is taking over, Urban Pizza. Dino has hired a landscape architect to design a new space that will evoke a feeling of being right at home in the Aegean sea. The new space will feature a stage and assorted flora like Palm trees, creating a communal space in which people can gather for a variety of different events.
Dino envisions a one-stop shop where everybody can gather and share a meal in comfort together. In addition to the fabulous pizza, he will also operate a Greek deli at the site and serve up sandwiches and specialty Greek pastries with phyllo dough. Zimi Pizza will also feature four beers on draft, Greek wines, and a rotating selection of canned beers from local breweries. Topping off his vision is an international store that will sell small goods and trinkets from across the Mediterranean, truly imbuing patrons with an authentic Greek experience.
At the moment, Zimi Pizza is expected to open in October. While you wait for Dino to finish up the final touches, consider visiting the original Zimi Pizza at The Block to get a taste of what the future has to offer.