The family that owns North Beach's Original Joe's and its Daly City sister location have snapped up the former Paradise Pizza space in West Portal with plans to open Little Joe's Pizza, Pasta, Parmigiana.
Brother and sister John and Elena Duggan tell the Chronicle that they grew up in West Portal eating at Paradise Pizza (393 West Portal Ave.), and when the space became available again this year, they decided to snap it up and bring something back to the old neighborhood. Paradise Pizza closed in 2018, and the space was briefly home to Captain Kona's Cafe, which has now closed.
The new restaurant will take its cues from the other Joe's locations, but with the addition of pizza, and with extra emphasis on their signature eggplant parmigiana.
"We were already looking to open a smaller concept, so when the space became available, it just worked," John Duggan tells the Chron. He adds that he and his sister had great admiration for what former chef Sal Alioto created at Paradise Pizza.
The original Original Joe's was opened by John and Elena's grandfather, Ante "Tony" Rodin, in the Tenderloin in 1937, along with partner Louis Rocca, and it was closed after a fire in 2007. The Duggans revived the concept in what was previously a restaurant called Joe DiMaggio's in North Beach in 2012. Rodin, a Croatian immigrant, had a business partner named Bruno Scatena who opened Joe's of Westlake in Daly City in 1956. The Duggans took over that location and gave it an acclaimed remodel, reopening in 2016 as Original Joe's Westlake.
They are likely not concerned about the fact that there is already an unrelated Little Joe's Pizza in the Mission, or that there was a famous downtown restaurant called Little Joe's — also unrelated — that closed in 2012. As the Chronicle's Carl Nolte noted in an obituary for Little Joe's longtime owner Franco Montarello in 2017, "Joe's" was just a name that got slapped on a lot of old-school Italian restaurants all over the Bay Area in the last century, including the unrelated Original Joe's in San Jose, and Marin Joe's in Corte Madera.
As Eater notes, there's no word on the timeframe for the opening of this Little Joe's, but stay tuned.