Ashley Patino’s return from baking on the west coast to her former home in Richmond, Virginia was about one thing: open a truly impressive pizza spot - Pizza Bones. And it only takes one encounter with her in-house sourdough crusts made with organic rye and wheat from neighboring bakery Sub Rose to realize that Patino, in fact, has pizza in her bones.
Tell us about your background and how you got started as a baker.
I started “improv” baking when I was in high school. I would watch the Food Network and just decide to make cookies or sweet bread — but most of the time we didn’t have eggs or the right flour, or real butter, something, so I did the best I could at mashing stuff together. That’s where it started, and I always kept it on the side as a hobby during my long stint in coffee later on. Once I reached a ceiling in the coffee world, I turned to baking and never looked back. I think it’s definitely one of the most rewarding jobs to have.
“Once I reached a ceiling in the coffee world, I turned to baking and never looked back. ”
How would you describe your style of pizza and who or what has influenced it?
I describe our pizza as “regular pizza” — thin crust, whole grain, sourdough and doesn’t make you feel weighed down. Our style is mostly a stand against Neapolitan pizza. I was bored with white flour, the taste of commercial yeast, and having one slice left that was too little to save and too much to eat. We only have one size because our approach is that it should be enough to share and if you’re not sharing, then it should be edible the next day. Apizza Scholls in Portland and Emilia’s Pizzeria in Berkeley are some of my all-time favorites and top influencers.
Current favorite specialty pizza?
I love our Nacho Pizza. Aside from pizza cravings, I often crave chips and cheese. It’s a magical combination. We put chips and cheese on the dough and finish it with housemade pickled jalapenos and carrots, lime crema, pico de gallo, and olives. We’ll have it on the menu when the Super Bowl comes around.
“We make pizza for the people outside, but as the owner it’s a huge priority that we’re happy inside as well. ”
Favorite part of your work day?
The best part of the work day happens when we get positive feedback. We welcome all feedback, but it feels so good when people are happy — employees included. We make pizza for the people outside, but as the owner it’s a huge priority that we’re happy inside as well.
Since you opened during the pandemic, you operate mostly out of a takeout window; any future plans or visions for post-pandemic Pizza Bones?
There are so many plans and visions...Right now we are working to ramp up the vibes in our indoor areas so that they feel more comfortable and approachable in case anyone wants some shelter from the cold.
We also just extended our hours to include lunch, and we’re now open noon-8pm. On Saturdays — particularly when Tomten has their farm stand set up out front — we have been playing around with pastry pop-ups, offering scones and cardamom buns and Recluse Coffee. This weekend we’re also adding our sourdough waffles to the menu mix!
And as for the remainder of the year, we have a book release event next weekend and our second annual holiday market the following weekend (Dec 18) — lots to look out for! Peep our Instagram and website as I try my hardest to keep it updated.