Punk rock and pizza is the move at Los Angeles’ Blackbird Pizza Shop, helmed by owner and chef Luis Ulloa. And with a city that’s got an anemic deep-dish pizza selection, the spot is a welcome addition to the trendy Melrose Avenue corridor. But I’m not going to tell you to go to Blackbird just because they have a deep-dish pizza. No, I’m telling you to go because they have a delicious and craveable deep-dish pizza that has a San Francisco-inspired cornmeal crust. And homemade meatballs. And thin-crust pies. And a killer beer and natural wine selection.
Named after the perceptive and brilliant blackbird, Ulloa’s pizza joint offers a spirited atmosphere that’s as energized and charged as the tunes blasting through their speakers, whether it be The Clash or Operation Ivy. So when I asked him about his selection of music, Ulloa shared plenty of insight to help connect the common thread of defiant jams and equally rebellious food.
I grew up in the 80’s punk scene around LA and Melrose Ave., and I have always had an affinity for what I felt Melrose inspired in my youth and career. It always represented a sense of progressive creativity. There was art, fashion, music, and an edge of rebelliousness. This is what I wanted Blackbird to represent. They say that your taste in music reflects your experiences in life. The culture of the kitchen has served as a vehicle in broadening my musical taste because I’m constantly surrounded by young people and am continuously being exposed to new or obscure tastes.
Music has always influenced my approach to food and inspired my creativity. Therefore, the day’s soundtrack will often dictate the rhythm and pace of the kitchen. I tend to start off my days with something a little on the mellow side and end with something more driven and steady. Depending on my moods, the playlist can also be played in reverse, should you be looking for that extra little boost of energy in the opening hours. In terms of my customers, I try to expose them to our kitchen culture through eclectic playlists and music I’ve been introduced to via my time in the kitchen.