Revolver Pizza serves great food with a classic soundtrack


Clive Son

Located at 1429 San Andres Street, Revolver Pizza serves authentic, hand-made pizza.

Tristan Williams, Staff Writer

“Authentic” is a word that should not be used lightly, reserved instead for bonafide institutions and enduring establishments. Yet, a mere six months after its opening, Revolver Pizza deserves the “authentic” moniker, not because of its roots in tradition, but the refreshing clarity of its voice amidst the Santa Barbara restaurant scene. The restaurant also happens to have incredible pizza.

Upon opening the black screen door, one hears the analog beauty of the Revolver sound system. Vinyl records are part of the culture here, with the turntable playing artists like Herbie Hancock and Jimi Hendrix, and the space is decorated with posters of Neil Young and David Bowie. Right by a spinning record is the menu: four types of 14” pizzas, pizza by the slice, two salads, and a beer and wine selection. That’s it. Aside from the occasional special, that is how Revolver does things.

“We’re doing pizza we want to eat,” said Nick Bodden, chef and owner of Revolver. The small menu allows him and his fellow chefs, Nick Gebhart and Ron Allen, each with at least 10 years of experience, to focus creative energy on each ingredient of each item. Such focus allows the chefs not only more expression in the food — Bodden adamantly described Revolver as “an extension of us” — but allows them to lean on each other to make the best product possible. “It sure beats working for someone else,” Bodden added, with a smirk and a chuckle.

Until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted to allow customers to eat inside, Revolver Pizza relies on pick-up and delivery. In Bodden’s words, they are “crazy busy,” but that does not detract from the dedication to quality: the dough is still hand-mixed at four a.m. the mozzarella still made in-house with belgioioso curd, the oregano still cut fresh and hang dried.

Bodden, originally from Long Island, New York, worked at bagel shops and delis, which led to his interest in cooking. What started as a job became a profession where he gained years of experience in fine dining. While residing in Manhattan, or traveling overseas to places like Singapore, Bodden deepened his culinary palate. A future making pizza was not on his mind at that time.

In and out of the Santa Barbara area for 11 years, Bodden had long looked at an empty location on San Andres Street. Paesanos Pizza, the Westside’s longtime neighborhood pizza joint, had closed permanently and stood vacant for nearly two years. Bodden pondered if he should finally open up his own place. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I never realized how vulnerable the [restaurant] industry was,” said Bodden. Out of work, he looked back to the old Paesanos location. When the price on the property lowered, Bodden took the risk and purchased it. Only after considering the ovens in the back did he decide what this new restaurant would serve: pizza. Necessity and inspiration walked hand in hand.

The vision for the restaurant’s atmosphere came later. Bodden had travelled to Japan two years prior, and was surprised by the amount of vinyl records, especially jazz records, that flooded the speakers of small restaurants across the country. Bodden and the rest of his team loved this concept and so Revolver Pizza — named after the 1966 Beatles album — became entwined with listening to records. Drawing on a collection of over 1200 albums, Bodden envisions Revolver as a place where one can have great food and “hear a record you never heard before.”

Revolver’s wall boasts a poster with a red fist and the words “thompson for sheriff,” referencing the journalist Hunter S. Thompson whose signature “gonzo” style was invented out of necessity. Thompson described this invention as “falling down an elevator shaft and landing in a pool of mermaids.” Revolver Pizza is also a product of necessity and inspiration. While Bodden and his team may have scrambled to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, they have managed to create something spectacular, their own “pool of mermaids,” that stands as a new and exciting voice for the Santa Barbara culinary scene.

Located at 1429 San Andres Street, the restaurant’s hotline is (805) 679-5818. Revolver is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, dinner only on Mondays, and closed on Tuesdays. The pizza place is also on Instagram @revolversb.

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