You can't so much as paint a wall on Abbot Kinney without it making the news. Abbot Kinney is home to uber hip boutiques, restaurants and bars, and on any given night, you can be sure to find a collection of food trucks for some post bar hopping grub. So it's no surprise that when a new little pizza joint opened at the south end (see what they did there) of Abbot Kinney that it's the talk of the town.
South End more accurately sits on Washington in a strip mall next to the cheap gas station that always has a line. It is worthy of some talk for some big Italian names associated with it like former Mozza chef Frank Fermin and Mario Vallero from Piccolo. When I went, it was barely been open a week so I can only assume that they are still working out some of the kinks, such as the half hour wait we experienced from getting our wine to being able to place our order, but thank goodness it wasn't the other way around.
The tiny wood covered room holds just 28 people at the black cement bar and L shaped communal table with high top chairs. There are no tables for intimate dining. Don't bring a date here unless conversation is a problem, then grab a chair and meet your neighbor.
The dinner menu is simple with 3 salads, a selection of cheese and charcuterie, a few tartes and a half dozen rustic pizzas. When we finally did get our order in, we were able to kick things off with a caramelized onion, brie, peach and balsamic tart. A thin crisp, crust supported chunks of peaches and wedges of robust, skin on brie. I would have eaten anything at that point, but it was solid.
Not terribly different in flavor profile, was the fontina, mozzarella, thyme pizza with a good smattering of fatty, flavorful bacon. The crust was warm and chewy and held up the white pizza well - a perfectly good pie.
While South End is Abbot Kinney adjacent and has some big names tied to it, it isn't going to be the spot to catch up with a long lost friend or have a romantic rendez-vous or even go for the best meal of your life. It will, however, be a good local, neighborhood place where you can relax on a barstool with a cheesy pizza and meet your neighbor.